Log In

Search form

You are here

Caring For Our Guests

Ron AndersonSometimes our SFO team members go above and beyond their job description and demonstrate that they not only care about our guests, but that they are willing to be creative and selfless in their service.  This month the Airport would like to recognize Ron Anderson from the Mechanical Maintenance Department.

On Tuesday May 21, Anderson was working in the short-term parking garage when he spotted an elderly man who appeared lost.  83 year-old retired engineering professor Andrew Pytel was flying back home to Pennsylvania and waiting for his son John to find a parking spot.

“My dad’s ailing physical health and mild mental confusion make it difficult for him to travel, so I always go into the terminal with him,” wrote John in an email to SFO.  “Because the parking lot was pretty full and I worried that he might have too long of a walk, I dropped him off near the elevators and told him to wait for me there.”

Anderson had just gotten out of a meeting and was headed back to his office when he noticed that Andrew appeared disoriented.   “He just looked confused,” said the soft-spoken Anderson.  “He said he needed to find a restroom but he wasn’t sure how long his son would be.”

Meanwhile, John had circled the lot for 20 minutes unable to find parking. He grew anxious about his father’s well-being so he called to let him know that he hadn’t forgotten about him.  Andrew handed the phone over to Anderson so that he could communicate his whereabouts.

“Ron told me that I needed to come to a pick-up area, but I got frustrated because my dad was supposed to be in a drop off area,” wrote John.  “I then yelled at Ron, telling him he didn't understand and that I was dropping him off and not picking him up. Instead of hanging up on me or yelling back, Ron recommended I drive to the elevators and he would help us find a parking spot.”

When John arrived, Ron asked him to follow him in his work truck and then drove to where his personal car was parked. 

Andrew Pytel“Ron got out of his truck, pulled his car out and had me park in his spot,” wrote John.  “He said he'd figure out somewhere else where he could park his car.  I still can't believe that he did this for us.  My father was in a state of confusion and I was in a state of panic, fearful he would miss his flight or get lost in the Airport.  Ron is an exceptional man and you are lucky to have him on your team.   His graciousness, empathy and willingness to go the extra mile to help us out in our time of need was extraordinary. It will forever change the way I think about the people who work at SFO.”

“My heart goes out to elderly folks,” says Anderson.  In a way he reminded me of my own father who passed away last March at the age of 83.  I’m always going to help people.  It’s a good feeling.”

SFO commends Ron Anderson for stepping up to help an elderly passenger in need.  His ability to remain calm and treat the Pytels with respect, as well as his generosity of spirit, truly embody SFO’s core values.  Ron Anderson showed that sometimes the simplest gestures are the most meaningful ones as we continue our mission to put safety and security first, and strive to be the best airport that we can be.

For more resource links on tips for traveling with dementia: