"My parents worked at the World Trade Center on 9/11."

*The Oculus and One World Trade Center

In early August, 46 floors above the memorial pools and the white spires of the dove-like Oculus, Jeremy stepped into the all glass conference room in One World Trade Center. His bright smile, courteous manner and shining sky blue eyes instantly won over the four of us in the room. Jeremy was the epitome of excellence in guest service. It was 9:07am. He was early.

We were completing set-up for our cultural training seminar for the members of the guest services team at the new Westfield World Trade Center. Soon the largest retail space in NYC would open and the concierge team would begin welcoming the estimated 400,000 shoppers and travelers passing through the center each day.

Translation By Design's role was to equip the team with the knowledge and skills to provide a culturally sensitive guest service experience for visitors whose customs, communication styles, and customer service expectations differ from ours.

*Peter helps the team overcome their frustrations when assisting a guest visiting from China.

As we began the seminar, we asked everyone to introduce themselves. When it was Jeremy’s turn to speak, we were captivated.

"My parents worked on the upper floors at the World Trade Center when the towers were attacked on 9/11." 

Our hearts sank, anticipating what he would say next.

“But unlike so many other families who lost loved ones, I didn’t. My parents changed to the evening shift three days before the attacks. That's why I am so proud to be here today. The rebuilding of ground zero is a sign of the resilience of the City and the spirit of our community. It means so much to be working here, representing my family, this company, our country, and to be welcoming people from all over the world. 90 countries lost citizens on 9/11. I want to do just as good a job welcoming guests from those countries as I do guests from mine. I am really looking forward to this training today.”

*An image from the training material

Everything about that day was inspiring. From the architecture of the Oculus, to Westfield’s commitment to welcoming guests from other cultures, to the attitude of their concierge team members, and stories like Jeremy’s.

Congratulations go to the entire Westfield team on the successful opening on August 16th. It was humbling to be in the presence of your efforts as the heart of New York City is reborn. 

 

*The view inside the Oculus during the opening celebration. 

The day was filled with heartfelt performances and memorials honoring those who were lost and their families. 

*John Legend closing the ceremony with a solo performance on the piano

 

“I’ve lived in New York for a very long time. I was here back in 2001. We know what the city went through. But we’re stronger than all of that. We’re strong enough to recover together, to love each other…”- John Legend

Translation By Design was honored to play a small role.

Thank you.