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American Airlines - Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: American Airlines, Ft. Worth, TX
Company Description: American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year - All Other Industries

Nomination Title: American Airlines Entry - Virna Waldron: Teaching by example

Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since the beginning of July 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Texas teacher Chelsea Lee wasn’t sure what to expect when she wrote to American Airlines seeking help with a problem. Hers wasn’t your average classroom conundrum. In fact, she considered her particular query to be one that would quite possibly go unfulfilled. Here’s what she wrote:

“Good morning! I am a fifth grade ELA/Humanities teacher at a Title I West Dallas school. This year, our school has implemented the use of a reading program called ‘MyOn’. We started this program because most of our scholars are English Language Learners and are in need of extra support with reading.In order to accomplish this, the program uses audio books.Sadly, since we are Title I, I personally do not have the funds to purchase headphones. On my last trip in July with American, I noticed that earbuds were being passed out and passengers were allowed to keep them afterwards. As a result, I am curious if American has the heart and funds to donate those same earbuds to my scholars.My class has a total of 51 scholars, and the entire grade has 156. I am aware that this is an unusual request and may not be possible, so just know that I appreciate you taking the time to read this message and respond with your final decision. Thank you! Sincerely, Chelsea Lee.”

Little did Chelsea know that, on the other end of her email, was a former educator. As a former teacher’s assistant in Midland, Texas, for a program called English as a Second Language, Customer Relations team member Virna Waldron could relate to Chelsea’s plight.

“I understand the tools that are needed for these scholars,” Virna said. “The request from the teacher was passionate and caring, andshe was asking for American to make a difference in the success of the scholars in the new school year.”

After doing some homework, Virna didn’t hesitate to act. She reached out to Alexa Maher, Customer Experience Product manager for American, for direction. Alexa immediately looped in Matthew Macko, Senior Analyst, Aircraft Interiors, who responded with some grade-A (for Awesome) news.

“We can definitely help out,” he said.

“Matt was amazing to work with; his response brought a smile to my face when I read it,” Virna said.“I was happy to share the news with the teacher. I called her, and she could not believe that her letter was receiving attention and also the donations of the earbuds.”

On Sept. 5, 2018, 200 American Airlines earbuds were sent to Uplift Heights Preparatory Primaryin Dallas via Federal Express. There were enough for Chelsea’s class and the rest of the students at Uplift. Virna followed up to make sure the special delivery was received, and her timing couldn’t have been better.

“We handed them out this morning, and all the scholars are thrilled,” Chelsea told her.

Virna’s supervisor, CSM Doug Burch, said her efforts say a lot about her character.

“She did not come to me and seek out any recognition for her efforts,” he said. “She was just happy finding someone willing to assist and that they were able to help out the school. This is just an awesome display of teamwork, and truly going above and beyond for these school kids.”