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 CUSTOMER SERVICE 

Como Esta? Friendly Assistance Has No Language Barrier
By Triphenya Bailey

Most people would probably agree that someone who is bilingual or multilingual would be a valuable employee at an international airport. But, being a multilingual volunteer who interacts with hundreds of people each day brings added value.

“Being able to speak to people in their native language puts them at immediate ease,” said Anthony Chapman, a Hartsfield-Jackson Host volunteer. These volunteers are an extension of the Customer Service team. They provide information to passengers about the Airport, the city of Atlanta, tourist sites and other local amenities. Chapman, a retired Army major who served for 20 years, is four months into his new stint as a volunteer. He gets excited when he talks about interacting with visitors.

Como Esta? Friendly Assistance Has No Language Barrier

“I smile and say, ‘Hello, how are you?’ in Korean and their faces light up.” So committed is Chapman to his volunteer duties that he recently enrolled in a Spanish language course.

As he talked about a family recently looking for directions in the Airport, he said knowing how to translate key phrases and words such as “bathroom,” “car” and “taxi” are invaluable. “They often nod and smile back, and then they go on their merry way,” he said.

Chapman and more than three dozen other volunteers were recognized at a luncheon held in the Airport’s Gateway Conference Room in April. He knows firsthand that volunteers can leave a lasting and positive impression of Atlanta with visitors.

“Even if it’s only a simple word in their language … [visitors] seem pleased to know that there is someone in the Airport who understands them.”



© 2008 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

 

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