Ground Staff, 6E (IndiGo)
Athlete, volleyball champion, and national level swimmer, Riya Gupta had it all going for her, when an accident at a sports tournament changed everything. The resulting injury left her 75% paralysed. Doctors told her to accept that she couldn't walk again. Confined to the wheelchair, she slowly began to sink into depression. In just a few months, she went from being a mischievous, hyperactive sports enthusiast, to a girl who had to be goaded into exercising her arms and legs everyday.
Then, rugby happened. What started out as an antidote to the boredom of the same exercises everyday, soon became a passion. By 2009, she was participating in international tournaments as the only female member of India's official Wheelchair Rugby Team, playing in a whole bunch of quadriplegic leagues that included club throw, discus throw and javelin throw, and..wait for it..working as a member of the 6E ground staff. As fans, sponsors and proud employers, watching her don the IndiGo blue and zip around helping hundreds of folks make it to their flights on time every day makes us happy beyond measure. In 2016, after a great performance at the TAFISA Wheelchair Rugby Cup in Jakarta, one of the world's best coaches walked up to her and congratulated her and said her game was the best he had ever seen. We completely agree.