One of the hardest phone calls I have had to make as a professional educator came on March 12, 2020 when we made the decision to cancel the WRHS senior-junior trip to NYC scheduled for the end of the month due to COVID-19. Given the situation, all I could tell parents at that time was that the trip was not happening: we did not know if it was a postponement, or if there was even a possibility of a refund.
I have made mistakes as an educator—and, with a few years left before retirement, plan to make a few more—but never had I faced the possibility of losing thousands of dollars for WRHS parents.
Already, we were hearing nightmare stories from other travel groups who got little to nothing back. Of course, the NYC tourism industry prepares for contingencies, educational travel agencies prepare for contingencies, even the airlines were prepared for some contingencies–I guess–and we as teachers who want our students to experience travel prepare for everything we can think of, but no one had prepared for this.
Except maybe for TK Tours and our travel agent, Lisa Doria.
From the beginning, Lisa showed what I thought at the time was maybe an overly optimistic confidence that she was going to be able to get us all our money back. In fact, I couldn’t believe we were understanding her correctly. Some businesses were closed, others were stonewalling or hard-balling, but once or twice a week we would get an update from Lisa on the progress she had made and what she was currently working on. She even forwarded us emails showing her battles with various customer service representatives. Before she had gotten the first nickel back, she already told us not to turn in our last payment, a substantial portion of the total cost of the trip.
Today, we learned that she had won every battle, that we were getting a total refund.
What she did for us goes so far beyond mere professionalism. Even major corporations, presumably with reserve assets, were passing the costs of the shutdown on to their customers. TK Tours and Lisa Doria made a principled decision not to profit from what had happened.
I should not be surprised. We switched to TK Tours in 2010, and everything they have done with us, year after year, from planning to organizing, from putting together affordable packages to handling emergencies, has always shown this same level of excellence. Lisa always got us the best at a reasonable cost.
I don’t know if this is a plug for an excellent educational travel agency or a thank you to a friend or a reminder for anyone who needs it that such people and such businesses still exist.
Let it be all that: Please consider TK Tours for your educational travel needs; good people and good businesses do exist; and thank you, Lisa, for everything you did for us and for WRHS!
GA, High School Teacher