The Power of the Employee
January 23, 2019
Recognizing Those Who Make a Difference Everyday
By Carolyn Cokley, Rail Passengers Association
There are certain rail passenger issues that we will forever be divided over. But, there is at least one issue that I believe that we can all get behind. When it comes to the hard-working men and women who make Amtrak move we can all value the dedication and perseverance that customer-facing employees bring to stations and trains all over the National Network. Today, three Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee members are in LA Union Station presenting awards to Ms. Stephanie Overton and Ms. Tonicia Pinckney.
Ms. Overton is one of the First-Class Metropolitan Room Agents in LA Union Station who has recently been promoted to Acting Station Manager. She has been a dedicated Amtrak employee for over 20 years and has the admiration of managers and co-workers alike. The ACAC member who nominated Ms. Overton describes her as “a humble woman with a warm beautiful smile, who works to make the passenger experience special and memorable”.
Tonicia “Toni” Pinckney is in her 20th year of Amtrak service as a Sleeping Car Attendant aboard the Southwest Chief. The ACAC member who nominated Ms. Pinckney was traveling in the Transition/Crew Dorm Car and was afraid that he would not receive the same level of service normally received in regular revenue space. “From the moment I boarded the train Toni was helpful and accommodating. She came to my car to welcome me on board and say that I should treat my room as an extension of her car, the 331 Sleeper. Even though she had a lot on her plate, I saw Toni help bus tables and do whatever was needed to make the journey a comfortable one for all passengers.”
After 20 years of customer complaints, transitioning management, and mechanical failures these employees could be bitter, harsh and downright unpleasant to travel with, but they are not. They show up every day with smiles on their faces and a desire to please the riding public. This is Amtrak at its best and it is the great pleasure of the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee to present them both with the January 2019 Customer Service Award in recognition of their outstanding customer service.
If you would like to submit a recognition for an Amtrak employee, call 1-800-USA-RAIL and give them the following information: your PNR/Reservation Number, the employee’s name (first, last or both) and a brief description of what service the employee provided”. I am aware of the changes impacting the Riverside Call Center right now, but for the moment, 1-800-USA-RAIL remains the best way to recognize the performance, good or bad, of Amtrak employees. By going directly through Amtrak’s system you ensure that the recognition goes directly to the manager and becomes a permanent part of the employee’s working personnel file.
"Thank you to Jim Mathews and the Rail Passengers Association for presenting me with this prestigious award. I am always looking at ways to work with the railroads and rail advocates to improve the passenger experience."
Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3)
February 14, 2020, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award