At 82, Airport Volunteer Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
By Pamela Wilson
Boyd McKeown was born the same year the first business flight took off from the tiny field that would later become Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Back then, only a handful of people could afford to take passenger flights. But that didn’t stop McKeown’s father, a Methodist preacher, from taking his family to nearly every state in the nation.
Those road and rail trips sparked Boyd McKeown’s love for travel and, ultimately, his fascination with airports. Today he works as a volunteer at Hartsfield-Jackson’s Information Desk, located opposite the car rental companies. Every Monday, McKeown, 82, can be found at the desk where hundreds of people each day get help with everything from ground transportation to locating incoming relatives.
“People come in and say, ‘where do I meet my cousin from California?’ I say, “What airline?’ ‘I don’t know’ ‘What city in California?’ ‘I don’t know,’” he recalled with amusement. “I have to smile because I know this person will need a little extra assistance.”
One customer who showed up at the desk in the late 1990s needed extraordinary help, McKeown recalled. The man from Tehran, Iran, who spoke no English, had been wandering the airport for three days after mistakenly departing from a connecting flight. “He was supposed to go to Washington DC,” McKeown said. “He only spoke Farsi, so we called our interpreter line and were finally able to get him to Delta who helped him get to his intended destination. His case reminded me of that movie with Tom Hanks. Maybe he was the inspiration.”
McKeown loves the fact that there’s never a dull moment at the Information Desk. A retired music teacher and advisor with Marietta High School and the Cobb County School Board, he now also spends his time playing trombone in a local senior citizens band called New Horizons. He still travels often – now almost always by air. And, why not? He really knows his way around the world’s busiest airport.
For information about volunteering at Hartsfield-Jackson, click here.
© 2007 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.
A passenger is assisted by
Boyd McKeown (right)