"Everything will be back to normal soon"

Trish Gainer is an early riser. It’s a habit she’s acquired from years of caring for a 22-acre farm where she raises chickens, horses and even miniature horses. “The farm is my happy place,” Gainer said. 

Being a morning person works for her. Especially since she needs to be on the bus to get to her job as Lead Customer Service Representative (CSR) for the Plaza’s Customer Service counter well before her shift begins at 6:30 a.m.

“I enjoy riding the bus to work,” Gainer said. “It’s a nice break before starting my workday and I never have to worry about finding downtown parking.”

On this particular day, a woman wearing eyeglasses shaped like butterfly wings has come up to Gainer’s customer service window. She asks if the electronic tablet she left on a bus has been turned in.

Gainer greets her and turns to go check the Lost and Found area for the missing item.

“I love your glasses,” Gainer tells the woman as she walks away. “They look amazing on you!” The woman is smiling when she leaves, despite having learned that her tablet has not yet been recovered. “Check back tomorrow,” Gainer advises. “Drivers usually wait until their shifts end to turn in items they find on their buses.”

In addition to giving customers the information they need to travel successfully with STA, Gainer makes it a point to give people a little hope or brighten their day with a well-placed compliment.

She knows these small acts of kindness are especially important now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. People’s routines are disrupted, information related to the illness changes frequently and no one knows for certain when things will return to normal.

“It’s been a stressful time for everyone,” Gainer said. “Our customers are anxious to know when they can board at the front of the bus and start paying fares again. They just want this whole thing to be over.”

As emergency measures remain in place, the Customer Service team is working to keep people as informed as possible and encouraging them to take full advantage of all of STA’s communication platforms, including the website, customer service lines and social media.

Right now, the STA Plaza is a walk-through facility and no passes are being sold. STA staff continues to maintain social distance and cleaners wipe down shared surfaces multiple times a day.

“We’ve gone through a lot of wipes, a lot of masks and a lot of cleaning products,” Gainer said. “We are all doing everything we can to keep everyone well.”

She is also encouraged that customers are wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“I want our customers to know that we are here to help,” Gainer said. “Everything will be back to normal soon.”

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