Eight Hospitality Super Heroes Honored for Providing Excellence in Customer Service

Wednesday September 21, 2022

By Catherine Neville

ST. LOUIS – At its annual meeting, Explore St. Louis highlighted the challenges and accomplishments of the travel, tourism, meetings and events industry by honoring 146 Hospitality Heroes and eight Hospitality Super Heroes. Learn more about the Hospitality Hero program here.

These annual awards showcase the dedication and superior qualities of our area’s front line hospitality professionals. Across the region, industry leaders were nominated by members of their team, who drew attention to superlative work ethic and focus on service.

 “People depend on the hospitality industry to provide excellent service to both work and leisure visitors, impacting how individuals view the St. Louis region,” Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe said. “We look forward to celebrating the workers who surpass all expectations, especially as the tourism industry makes its overwhelming return.”

The 2022 Hospitality Super Heroes are:

Brandi Napier, Midas Hospitality (Element St. Louis Midtown)

It was an ordinary day at the Element St. Louis Midtown. Brandi Napier was going about her typical housekeeping duties when she became aware of an unresponsive guest and immediately acted. After determining the guest’s family members were not trained in CPR, Napier performed the emergency lifesaving procedure until the ambulance arrived. Because of Napier’s actions, the guest survived, and although she now works at Kingside Diner, Napier will always be remembered at the Element.

William “Scott” Hunsche, Midas Hospitality (Element St. Louis Midtown)

When a group of guests of the Element St. Louis Midtown couldn’t find a nearby place for happy hour, front office manager Scott Hunsche took it upon himself to brighten their night. Hunsche gathered beverages from around the hotel and created a mini bar in the lobby. His story is a prime example of the thoughtfulness of hospitality workers.

Loyd Rogers, Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel

Loyd Rogers, a shuttle driver for the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel, goes above and beyond his job description every day. In one instance, Rogers did everything in his power to make sure a guest in a wheelchair was safe and comfortable. The guest was waiting at the airport for the hotel shuttle, and when Rogers arrived, he quickly determined that the vehicle didn’t have the necessary equipment to accommodate the guest. So, Rogers procured a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, and he even found a suitable room for the guest at a neighboring location when the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel didn’t have one. With care and hard work, Rogers was able to make another visitor to St. Louis feel valued.

Claudia Lombard, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis - Westport

In partnership with HavenHouse St. Louis, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis - Westport acts as a familiar face and long-stay option for the families of people undergoing medical procedures. Havyn, a patient who stays at the hotel with her family between treatments, developed a relationship with Claudia Lombard, a server at the in-house restaurant. Lombard connects with all guests on a personal level – one of her many skills – but she has a deeper connection to Havyn and her family. As a testament to their relationship, Havyn was recorded saying that Lombard is her ”favorite thing about HavenHouse.” The video later aired at a gala where Havyn received an award.

Tommy Brown, Saint Louis Zoo

A woman in hospice contacted Tommy Brown at the Saint Louis Zoo and asked if he could help her with her last wishes. Without hesitation, Brown arranged a behind-the-scenes experience for her and her family. The day included time with the sea lions and lunch, with Brown putting in the extra effort to make sure everyone had a good time. A few days later, the family notified the Saint Louis Zoo team of the woman’s passing, expressing their gratitude for everything Brown did for them and their loved one.

Alexandria Dent, Regency Enterprises Service, LLC/STL

At St. Louis Lambert International Airport, people move quickly to get from point A to point B – sometimes too quickly. In one instance, two sisters were about to board a plane when one of them realized that their rings were missing. Alexandria Dent overheard the sisters’ concern and immediately offered to help. With direction from the sisters, Dent started digging through the suspected trash bin, only stopping when she found the ring towards the bottom of the bin, stealthily wrapped in a paper towel used to dry the sister’s hands. Not many people would have offered to help search for the rings, but Dent didn’t hesitate and ensured that the airport’s travelers could continue their journey on a happy note.

Stephanie Friz, Penn Entertainment, Inc. (River City Casino)

Late last year, officer Stephanie Friz was notified by several guests that an unidentified female had collapsed in the parking lot of River City Casino. After Friz rushed to the location, she immediately started CPR, refusing to give up or allow anyone to take over until the ambulance arrived. After a few days, the daughter of the collapsed woman told the casino that her mother had survived due to Friz’s dependability and persistence. The woman is now recovering thanks to the tireless efforts made by officer Friz.

Sabitra Bartaula, Penn Entertainment, Inc. (River City Casino)

At River City Casino, Sabitra Bartaula was checking a restroom for cleanliness when she noticed that a woman in the stall was making abnormal movements. Bartaula knocked on the stall to ask if the woman was OK, but the woman didn’t respond. Bartaula trusted her intuition and contacted security right away, eventually finding the woman incapacitated. Because of Bartaula’s observation and quick action, medical attention was provided that saved the woman’s life.

Hospitality Superheroes and Heroes were judged by a panel of diverse individuals, ranging from members of Explore St. Louis’ Board of Commissioners to leaders in government, the hospitality industry and the broader St. Louis community.