“If you love aviation, airports, and people,” offers a recent announcement from Denver International Airport, then golly boy howdy does the airport have an idea for you. Why not be part of its Ambassador program, “in which volunteers welcome and assist passengers with wayfinding, security, and other airport information.”
They make it sound so sexy, don’t they? Mmm…wayfinding.
If you’re interested, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org by September 6, but keep in mind that there's more to being a DIA Ambassador than just a passion for the world of aeronautics. Here are a few things that the announcement doesn't mention.
1. Must not require mundane details like financial recompense.
Volunteers will receive a “special uniform” and “receive complimentary employee parking,” but only while on the job. Aaaaand…that’s pretty much it. So they’re not kidding about participants needing to have a serious love for aviation and airports. Sure, other volunteer positions have more perks — at Coors Field you can enjoy the game, and at the museums you can see the exhibits. At the airport, you can…ride the moving sidewalks? Enjoy the artificially inflated price of a snack pretzel? Yes, all that, and more...with your special uniform.
2. Must love dealing with people during high stress.
There’s a reason most people hate going to the airport, even if they love the travel itself — because it’s sort of hell. The airport is a necessary evil for most people. They just want to find their gate, their bags, or maybe a bathroom before they move to their next task in a long list of tasks to get where they’re going. And that’s when things are going smoothly. If there’s a snag in the system, woe be to everyone involved.
3. Must be able to deal with the rapidly changing goalposts for DIA's expansion plans.
What’s the latest plan for DIA’s improvement? Depends on what day it is. Last month, the airport was under contract — despite some immense overruns and delays — for a massive and ambitious terminal renovation. This month, not so much. Yes, it’s all going to still happen, but the “scope” of the renovation might “have to change,” which means that pretty much anything is possible. Ambassadors will have to communicate that…and smile with a whole lot of practiced patience.
4. Must also be able to communicate the expansion plans to travelers.
Why is this wall here? Why can't I access that elevator anymore? Where is security moving to, and why? Will there still be tents? For the love of all that's holy, when will all this be finished? These questions are going to be asked, and Ambassadors must have a ready answer. In other words: Ambassadors at this point need to appear to be more confident about what's going on than the contractors apparently do.
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5. Must be able to explain and pretend to enjoy the public art.
A nice bonus to the Ambassador position is being surrounded by DIA's public art. Ambassadors must be able to summon up an appreciation for it when asked. Specifically, they’ll need to be able to explain where it is now, because a lot of it has been mothballed for a while due to the aforementioned renovation. It’s supposed to come out again for re-installation…somewhere. Ambassadors must also be willing to give offerings to Blucifer for his continued mercy and benevolence. DIA promises that under no circumstances will Ambassadors be required to, you know, be the offering.
6. Must possess Dora-level explorer abilities.
The main terminal has been transformed into what's essentially become a maze. You have to do better than a trail of breadcrumbs or unwinding a ball of kite string. You have to be a freaking walking, talking, smiling GPS system. As the song goes: "If there's a place you gotta go, I'm the one you need to know...I'm the map." Ambassadors: Be the Map. Be the Map. Be the Map. (Sadly, you have to provide your own slick bass line.)
7. Must be able to communicate with the Illuminati lizard people in the underground tunnel system.
But it’s okay. The New World Airport Commission has pretty good tutorials. Just another perk of Ambassadorship.