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NMCCL Stories

News | Dec. 30, 2020

Compassion through COVID: NMCCL shuttle drivers offer more than transportation

Quality customer service ranks high on NMCCL’s priorities, and the Medical Center is fortunate to have two dedicated employees working to accomplish this before beneficiaries enter the building. NMCCL shuttle drivers, Luis Minguela and Terry Cole, are often the first and last faces our people see during their visit to NMCCL, and they say “top-notch customer service” is their motto.

Luis Minguela has been a shuttle driver for NMCCL for 10 years; Terry Cole has been with NMCCL for 3 years. Both men state a vital element to their job satisfaction is getting to know patrons.

“Not everyone is going to have a good day,” said Minguela. “We have to be the light; we are the first representative of the hospital, and our first impression is just as important as the last.”

The shuttle service consists of two shuttles that provide transportation for patients, visitors, and staff from the NMCCL parking lots to the facilities. Minguela and Cole first pick up patients, visitors, and then staff in that order with the exception of emergencies which would take precedence.

"As veterans, our drivers understand the importance of the people we serve at the Naval Medical Center,” said Mary Bostok, Supervisory Work Coordinator for our Facilities Management “The drivers are determined to ensure the first impression of the Command is a positive one.”

As with many departments, the COVID-19 pandemic, has presented some challenges for the shuttle service. According to Cole, the drivers used to transport five or six people to their destination, but they are now authorized only one passenger unless the passengers are together, such as family members. Coronavirus regulations have resulted in longer wait times for shuttle riders.

“While working to accommodate the special mitigations for COVID-19, we ask for our patrons to have patience and realize we are working hard to ensure we are able to provide service to everyone,” said Cole.

The Facilities Management department is currently working to put plexiglass barriers in the shuttles to separate the seats to allow for more people per trip while still creating a safe passage.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, both men agree that compassion has and will always be part of the job.

“When you look at the patron, you ask yourself how you would want to be treated, how would you want to help a family member or friend?” Minguela explained. “You personalize the help and show compassion.”

The shuttles run from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be requested by calling the NMCCL Quarterdeck at (910)451-3079/4722.

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