More than thousands of travelers commute by airplanes on a daily basis. The standard schedule of a flight plan is pretty basic once arriving at the airport — check in luggage, retrieve plane tickets, walk through security, and wait at the gate before entering the plane. Although it seems like an ordinary process, the successful functioning of an airport would not be what it is without the incredibly helpful employees working on the ground.
I once thought the most interesting jobs in an airport were only the TSA officers and air pilots. Pilots get to fly planes and see the world while wearing fancy suits that make them look official and legitimate. TSA officers, also adorned in fancy uniforms, get to reprimand passengers who seem threatening at security check point. Although such job descriptions may entail thrilling adventures, I realized that the jobs at the airport who really do get to see it all might just be the custodians.
Who are the ones at the airport helping passengers find their luggage, help with directions, and making sure the entire airport is a pleasant place to be — all while willingly cleaning up a messy “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”-type accident at the terminal? McCarran Airport custodians, that’s who.
Sylvia Fitpatrick, 57, has worked at the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport for more than 26 years. Since starting her career as custodial supervisor, Fitzpatrick has dedicated her role to helping people from all over the world. One may assume that airport custodians are present in institutions merely to clean up after everyone, but people like Fitzpatrick are the main reasons why a grand airport like McCarran International is standing steadily today.
Sure a typical custodial job may seem mundane and monotonous, but Fitzpatrick proves that her career as a custodial supervisor is anything but.
“Working at McCarran is very rewarding because I get to help people from all over the world,” she said. “It is wonderful and fascinating to meet all sorts of different people who I know can benefit from my guidance.”
Such guidance, she recalls, included one incident in which a passenger’s dog got caught in the moving walk way.
“Dogs are not allowed on the walkways. One time a visitor let her dog walk on the moving path and its paws got trapped before reaching the end,” she said. “I was able to save the dog and heal its wounded paws with my first-aid kit.”
The next time you find yourself at McCarran airport, be sure to acknowledge the enormous amount of help custodians are willing to give — from re-stocking the restrooms to saving your four-legged carry-on.