After organising the repatriation of dozens of fellow passengers on a stranded cruise ship during the COVID-19 outbreak, personal travel manager Luke Ballard received the following letter from a couple in New York City.
“Not sure how to find the words to adequately thank you for your truly super human assistance in getting us home after our Antarctic expedition. (We wouldn’t be surprised to find a Superman cape tucked under your bed…..).
You volunteered your energy and expertise as ports were being closed to us, and tirelessly explored options for over 190 people from all over the world, speaking multiple languages. Your patience and good nature in navigating countless airline
schedules and charter options, was an up close and personal look at effective focus and persistence.
We watched in wonder as you worked with countless passengers, in twelve to fourteen hour stretches, patiently addressing their concerns about everything from safety to schedules, to vegetarian meals! You made the impossible look easy.
When the adventure… after the expedition… began to untold, you promised that it we would just be patient and work with, you would get us all home.
You kept your word… in spades, and our appreciation stretches
to the 79 moons of Jupiter… and back.”
Hugs and blessings,
John and Noela
“A bright spot today. As most of you know, earlier this year our Antarctic cruise was disrupted when, upon attempting to return to civilisation, the pandemic left our boat unable to dock and the passengers and staff stranded. You also probably know I jumped in and used my experience and knowledge to get everyone home.
It was something I felt I had to do but it was also draining in a scary time for most people. It was very hard to see past the negative of a worldwide outbreak at the time.
Today I received an email from TravelManagers HQ (National Partnership Office) to say I had received a card from NY. It had been sent in May but had only just arrived.
2020 has been an intense year – and as a travel agent that intensity means daily doses of negative, bleakness, and despair. I joined this industry to build amazing holidays for people, not cancel them and spend all year chasing refunds. It’s been feeling heavy lately but this lovely card has reminded me why I do it and that my work does help even in the negative times. In fact, probably even more so in the bad times as I can genuinely help.”
Luke Ballard is a personal travel manager based in Queensland.