CHICAGO — An American Airlines customer service agent at O’Hare was honored Friday for helping save three people this year with medical emergencies, for a total of six in his career.
Rodney Tabaniag earned the Real American Hero Award, which is handed out by American Airlines to ticket agents or others who have saved the lives of sick passengers.
Most award winners earn the honor once in a lifetime. But Tabaniag, who is also a trained EMT, is earning his sixth award – more than any other American Airlines team member.
“The first time it happened I was on a trip with some friends,” Tabaniag said. “I was able to be there in someone’s darkest hour.”
On his own time while working at American Airlines, he started undergoing training to become a certified emergency medical technician. Then, he had another opportunity to put his skills to use.
“Straight out of school, newly licensed,” Tabaniag said. “I was doing chest compressions, our teammate was doing rescue breathing.”
His supervisor and colleagues joined the celebration.
“We’re really lucky to have him for his sixth time winning, congratulations,” his supervisor said.
Winners of the award get a $1,000 bonus and the symbolic hero’s cape. But Tabaniag said the greatest thrill of all is to know you save someone’s life.