“Smile, keep calm and communicate with people.”
That was the key to success for two Tauranga security guards working at the Baypark COVID-19 testing station.
Aegis Private Security employees Miranda Clark and Bryan Kneightly have both received the New Zealand Security Association COVID-19 Guardian Award.
The pair are stoked about the recognition, but they say they were simply doing their jobs.
“We are hired to care about people, keep them safe and put them at ease. There were a lot of stressed-out people coming into the testing centre,” says Miranda.
Bryan says it was their job to ensure peoples stress levels stayed low while they waited to be tested.
“At times people were waiting for a long time to be seen by medical staff and it was up to us to keep communicating with them and touching base.”
She spoke of one particular instance when dealing with Bryan and Miranda.
“Somehow the message I was alone and unwell was passed along, and I kept getting updates.
“At one stage one of the Security Team came up to me and said: ‘We know you’re not well so if you feel worse at any stage, beep and flash your lights and we’ll come and get you and get you to someone.’ That compassionate communication, letting you know what’s going on, just gives you peace of mind.”
Andrea, whose COVID-19 test came back negative, said the medical staff could not have done their jobs so well without such a great support crew.
Miranda says Andrea was unwell and quite stressed out by the big queues on that particular day.
“People were waiting for hours and hours on end to be tested – and we just took it upon ourselves to check in on everyone.”
Bryan says when a parent with young children was waiting to be tested, the security team would ensure they were seen as quickly as possible.
“We would try and get them through quickly because it can be quite stressful for the little ones in the back. The key was the communication from myself at the front gate to the team at the back.”
Aegis Private Security had a team of about 12 working at the Baypark testing centre, including those manning the tents overnight.
Many security guards found themselves working 12 hours shifts, six days a week during this time, says Bryan.
“It was long hours but every person had a different story so it wasn’t hard to keep smiling. The feet were sore but I did work on my suntan so that was a bonus,” he says.
Bryan and Miranda agree that the whole security team deserve the award, reiterating it was a team effort.
“If we could cut this award up into little pieces and hand it out to everyone, then we would,” says Bryan.