For Changi Airport customer service supervisor Mohd Jumatdi Ayub, tracing unclaimed baggage is part of his routine duties.
But in May last year, the 58-year-old spotted two uncollected items of luggage - tagged for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - which he felt warranted a closer look.
He later found out that they belonged to an Indonesian couple, in their 70s, who were en route from Surabaya to Jeddah via Singapore when the husband suffered a stroke and had to be taken to a hospital here.
Mr Jumatdi personally delivered the luggage to the couple - identified only as Mr Karnadi and Madam Sulastri - then coordinated with the airport, embassy and hospital to arrange for them to return home.
Over the three weeks the couple were here, Mr Jumatdi visited them around 10 times, on his days off and after work.
Yesterday, Mr Jumatdi, who works for ground handling agent dnata Singapore, was among 33 award winners at Changi Airport's Annual Airport Celebration.
Mr Jumatdi said: "From the time I (first) met them to three weeks later, I could see the difference in Madam Sulastri. The sadness is still there, but there is joy. At least somebody assisted them... I'm happy for them."
Held at the Ritz Carlton, the awards are given to airport staff and partners who go the extra mile in serving passengers.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, the guest of honour, said: "What makes Changi stand out, is that we have that personal touch. It is a warm, personalised service where every individual traveller counts."
Mr Lui noted that this must be upheld even as more automation and self-service are introduced in the airport to cope with manpower challenges.
He called on service staff to step forward to help passengers find their way and smoothen out the inconveniences.
Mr Lui also commended trolley technician Abidin Bakhtiar, 52, who personally paid for a night's hotel stay and a flight ticket for a stranded Indonesian traveller in her 30s.
The woman, who was not well-educated, had spent two nights in transit in Changi after missing her connecting flight. Mr Abidin said: "I just wanted her to be safe and go back home."
This article was first published on February 13, 2015.
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