SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – People headed home for Christmas this year may plan on flying through the Salt Lake City International Airport.

If you do, you may find snow, mistletoe, and a police officer who loves to make people’s day. He’s a refugee, who came to America from an unbelievable situation, in this edition of Behind the Badge.

If the hustle and bustle of the holidays takes to you the SLC airport, you may meet a police officer as friendly as they can be. For the last 22 years, Salt Lake City Police Officer Ran Kros has patrolled the airport on bike, on foot, or in his squad car.

“I love it so much, I love this job,” said Ran Kros, Salt Lake City Police Officer.

Kros goes out of his way to make sure airport passengers are having a good day. He tends to make a lot of friends, including all the airline employees.

“He’s just fun to talk to,” said one airline worker.

“He’s willing to help anybody out. He’ll take the time to address any questions you may have,” said another airline employee.

“You just know that with Ran he’ll just come and assist you. He’s just that helpful, that kind,” said airline staff.

Kros relates most with refugees coming into the country for the first time.

“Most of the time they’re so lost in this world. They came from a different part of the world just like I came,” Kros said.

As a young boy in 1979, Kros and his family were refugees escaping the genocide in Cambodia. For weeks, they fled through the country’s infamous Killing Fields where more than a million of his people were massacred.

“You’re walking on foot day and night without shoes in the darkness, in the jungle; you’re just hoping you know where you’re going… along the way you’d be so scared, thinking who’s going to (step on) landmines and things like that. So, mom is always telling us you have to stay with the footsteps (in front of you),” said Kros.

His frightening journey ended flying into America, arriving at the SLC Airport. Utah’s beauty and modern advances left a lasting first impression.  

“(We) landed I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is like heavenly you know?’,” he said.
Perhaps it’s why he works there today, hoping to give travelers the same heavenly experience.

“Every day if I can say hello to someone, to make someone smile,” Kros said. “You just say ‘Hey how’s your day going?’ Or at least just say ‘Hi.’ You can just see their face glowing.”

By all accounts, it seems to be working.