Safe And Sound
When sisters Vyonnie-Amor and Nancy Lee stayed at Ascott Makati during an emotional visit to the Philippines, quick-witted staff ensured that a potential disaster was averted
As Vyonnie-Amor and Nancy Lee planned a visit to the Philippines from their homes in Switzerland, little did they foresee that the visit would involve a heart-stopping fright.
The trip was distressing enough: a journey made from their respective homes in Geneva and Zurich to attend their father’s funeral. The challenges would continue when childhood friends Francis and Irma Garcia visited them at their Ascott Makati apartment, accompanied by their five-year-old granddaughter, Andi. Nancy and Irma went out for the afternoon and soon afterwards Vyonnie-Amor discovered that Andi was missing.
“When we realised she had gone we were frantically looking for her in all the rooms — including all the wardrobes and even inside the washing machine!” recalls Vyonnie-Amor Lee. “Realising that Andi was actually missing from our apartment we started to panic, but somehow there was also a certain calm assurance that she was in very good hands. Thank God, a phone call with good news came just in time.”
While Vyonnie-Amor and Francis Garcia were searching the apartment, Andi had managed to get herself into a lift and out to the lobby on the sixth floor, where she found security staff Rey Aduptante.
Aduptante had seen her alight from the guest lift by herself and immediately went up to look after her and make sure she stayed safe. He engaged her in conversation, trying to find out who she was so that he could return her to her apartment. Bellhop Ian Balanoba and driver Reggie Gutierrez were also on hand to offer their assistance in returning the girl to her grandparents as quickly as possible.
Ascott Makati - Two-Bedroom - Living Area
Sensing that the child might be amenable to opening up to a female, assistant residence manager Susan Salcedo joined in and coaxed Andi into conversation by asking her about her favourite animals and cartoon characters, all the while trying to get her surname, which she couldn’t remember — nor did she know her room number. All she could give concerned Ascott staff was a couple of given names, but no surnames.
Meanwhile, the security team was going through CCTV footage to determine where Andi had boarded the lift. “When we found out where, staff reviewed the guest list from the floor and found a name that Andi had mentioned as one of the registered companions,” said Salcedo.
She continued, “Our team called the apartment and inquired if they had a child named Andi. Needless to say, they were very happy when we told them that we had found her. We then promptly returned Andi back to her family.”
Vyonnie-Amor was about to race down to reception to collect Andi, when the youngster appeared at the apartment door, accompanied by her rescuers. “We realised after Andi was found that she had opened the door of the apartment by herself to see if she could follow her grandmother and Nancy. The Ascott staff said she was very brave and not upset at all about the ordeal.”
Although it seemed like a lifetime, the whole ordeal lasted just 20 minutes, thanks to the quick-witted actions of Ascott staff.
Vyonnie-Amor’s sister Nancy was equally impressed with Ascott’s prompt reaction. “Thanks to the good sense and helpfulness of Ascott staff, Andi was brought back to us safely,” she remembers. “What a wonderful relief, I cannot imagine how we would all be able to face the following days if nobody had found her.”