Some People Walk By Faith, Others Fly
Lecia Shorter shared in a June letter to the Airport’s Customer Service office her turbulent experience at Hartsfield-Jackson. The Beverly Hills, Calif., resident had to change her flight, but the airline required an additional $288 — money she did not have.
The Rev. Chester Cook, the Airport’s head chaplain, stepped in and made arrangements for Shorter to head home without paying additional fees. “He [Cook] offered to pray about the situation. After he prayed, he told me he would go speak to the [airline’s] highest ranking employee, yet he couldn’t make any guarantees,” Shorter wrote in the letter.
For his efforts, Cook and his staff received the 2008 Outreach Service Award during Hartsfield-Jackson’s 13th Annual Customer Service Recognition Program. Cook received a plaque and a $1,000 gift card for outstanding contributions to the Airport community and the city of Atlanta.
“We try to provide humane and spiritual care to the Airport community,” said Cook, who has been with the Airport for seven years.
The Airport has two small interfaith chapels, where Cook and his staff help people in need of assistance, a listening ear or a quiet haven to worship. The chapels are open to passengers, visitors, Airport employees and airline staff.
“We function on three levels — having a spiritual presence, crisis intervention and disaster response,” said Cook. “We interact at a level that I call ministry of presence for well-being, and we promote that well-being when someone is having a bad day, just received bad news or has lost a job. Then we can intervene and help them find some hope.”
Intervention is what Shorter is grateful for when she met Cook.
“Your airport is without question properly in the ‘best of class’ category, as is the Rev. Dr. Chester Cook,” Shorter concluded in her letter.
Airport chapels operate on donations, and the money is used for emergency assistance. To learn more about chaplain services or to make a donation, call (404) 762-1051 or visit www.airportchapel.org
© 2008 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.