He’ll Help You Find Your Flight, And God : NPR

A great article about a special man. I’d like to be more like him.


Chester Cook knows he can always find a lost soul at the re-ticketing counter in Terminal A at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. So he goes there each day, plants himself near the line and scans faces.

“I’m normally looking for someone who’s having a meltdown,” Cook says.

Soon enough, he spots a woman. She’s near tears, looks to be in her 60s and is lugging a heavy bag. Cook approaches her.

“I’ve been changed again to [gate] C57,” she says, gasping for breath. “I can’t walk any farther.”

“OK, I’m going to go check it out with you,” he says as he hails down a motorized cart and helps her on. “I’m going to ride with you back here, OK?”

“I thank you for your help,” she says. “Who are you?”

“I’m Chaplain Cook,” he says. “I’m your little angel today.”

Largest Church In The Country

By some definitions, Cook has the largest church in the country. As the full-time chaplain of Atlanta’s international airport, his flock includes the 56,000 employees and a quarter of a million travelers who pass through each day.

The United Methodist minister models his ministry on the parable of the good Samaritan — a stranger who helps a traveler in crisis and practices kindness, often without mentioning religion. Cook says he gets a lot of practice in these days of inflexible airline rules. He often pays a traveler’s $150 change fee from his chaplain’s budget or his own wallet. And sometimes he manages to bend the rules.

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