Who Are The People Behind The Voices In The Airport?

Nick Harris, Flickr

If you’re late, an airport can be a stressful place (although some people might love to call one home). You’re juggling your overpacked carry-on bag, trying to find your ticket — or did you go for the mobile boarding pass this time? — and suddenly remember you haven’t dumped out your reusable water bottle. But in the midst of the mayhem, there’s always a reassuring voice, reminding you to not leave your bags unattended.

You know why it’s reassuring? Because that woman talking to you over the PA system is in fact a sweet woman in her 60s, and she can be heard in more than 200 airports around the world.The woman is Carolyn Hopkins. Her male airport voice counterpart is named Jack Fox. Thanks to a company called Innovative Electronic Designs that is the leading supplier of automated paging systems (i.e. what you hear as recorded messages in airports and subways) the two of them can be heard everywhere from O’Hare to Kennedy.

Do they get recognized? Of course they do, but it’s rarer then you might think. An in-depth article on The Verge takes a look at the pair’s stories, giving us a closer look at two people most of us have never met, but who are surprisingly familiar.

Fox says he was renting a car at the terminal once, and the agent said, “You sound like that guy!” Then there was the time he was traveling with his granddaughter: “She got this puzzled look on her face and said: ‘Why is grandpa talking so much?'”

That comfort of strangers makes most of us travelers feel right at home, which in turn gives the voice duo a sense of doing something good. As Fox says, “My father was a minister, and I think of this as my airport ministry.”

Read the full story on The Verge.