Cupid’s arrow strikes TSA Atlanta – three couples share their stories

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
ATL TSA Officers Marlon and LaJauii Hunter (Photo by Zubaidah Guy)

Working together, living together, doing life together in marriage – that’s a magical combination for three married couples on TSA Atlanta’s team.

In recognition of Cupid’s work, we’re sharing the Valentine stories of three wedded TSA duos who met their spouses while on the job at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Just how do they make all of that togetherness work

Marlon and LaJauii Hunter

After meeting for the first time in a TSA behavior detection training class at ATL, TSA Officers Marlon and LaJauii Hunter were married two years later on November 1, 2010.

LaJauii said she and her husband are “ships passing in the night.” LaJauii works the 4:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. shift, while Marlon works 12:30 – 11 p.m., and they only share one regular day off. Despite their crazy schedule, their marriage is strong.

The Hunters both serve on ATL’s Advanced Threat Local Allocation Strategy team, Marlon as a supervisory transportation security officer and LaJauii as an expert officer.

“We have grown accustomed to the way our shifts impact our household, and we work diligently to make room for quality time, not the quantity of time spent together,” said LaJauii. “To keep this marriage as healthy as possible, we minimize the amount of time we chat about work. There has to be a space of peace created in one another, and we cherish that space.”

Marlon said he and his wife have maintained opposite schedules for the past 12 years and learned to keep their private lives private. He admits, though, it wasn’t love at first sight.

“I don’t believe in love at first sight,” said Marlon. “We actually didn’t like each other at first. We grew on each other.”

LaJauii agrees, adding, “We were actually polar opposites and argued miniscule points ‘just because.’ As time elapsed and the years stretched, we acknowledge and honor the fact that as opposite as we may appear, we are connected at the core. Many of our tastes, beliefs, goals and desires are linked at the center.”

She admits being married and experiencing the same work environment can be challenging.

“Working at TSA and being ‘married to TSA’ has presented some learned lessons in privacy, respect and disposition,” said LaJauii.

When they talk shop at home, the Hunters agree they can have some strong debates.

“We are diligent debaters and often find ourselves choosing obverse stances when it comes to the standard operating procedures (SOP) or directives,” LaJauii said.

Marlon responded, “It’s always the battle of my supervisor’s perspective and her officer’s perspective. She always calls me a ‘company man.’”

They’re both proudest, though, of the five wonderful children they’re raising and the sacrifice and dedication their union has created.

When asked what the secret is for successfully being married while working for TSA, LaJauii replied, “Keep a separation of professional and personal. Protect (your marriage) and demand respect, but remember the only way others will respect your union is if you collectively respect the union.”

Claude and Lakiesha Talbert

ATL Coordination Center Manager Lakiesha Talbert and Supervisory Officer Claude Talbert (Photo by Zubaidah Guy)
ATL Coordination Center Manager Lakiesha Talbert and Supervisory Officer Claude Talbert (Photo by Zubaidah Guy)

Claude and Lakiesha Talbert will celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in July and also work at ATL but in different locations. Claude is a supervisory officer at the T-South Checkpoint while Lakiesha is a Coordination Center manager.
“We have never worked at the same location for several ethical reasons,” said Lakiesha. “We used to try to at least have one regular day off together. However, through the years we both have been promoted and moved around.”

While both work the day shift, their regular days off are different.

“But if it wasn’t for TSA, we never would have crossed paths,” Claude emphasized.

Claude said they first met in 2012 when Lakiesha requested a behavior detection officer to analyze a passenger’s behaviors at the travel document check station and offer a second opinion. Claude happened to be the officer who respond.

Was it love at first sight for the Talberts?

“For me, not love at first sight,” replied Lakiesha. “However, I was definitely attracted to his complexion and the way he carried himself.”

“I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight,” Claude agreed. “But there was definitely an attraction. She had natural long hair that was attractive to me.”

While at home, they try to get away from the job by avoiding shop talk. Claude doesn't believe he and his wife have ever had an argument about work, even when chatting about the SOP.

When asked how they successfully navigate married life and work at TSA, Lakiesha said, “The same rules apply at work, home or outside, and that is to RESPECT each other, be faithful to each other and trust each other to know that our loyalty is unmatched.”

The Talberts don’t have any specific plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“To me, every day should be like Valentine’s Day,” said Claude.

Daniel and Anthia Jenkins

Daniel and Anthia Jenkins (Photo by Zamaro Rice)
Daniel and Anthia Jenkins (Photo by Zamaro Rice)

Both now on the TSA ATL management team, Daniel and Anthia Jenkins will celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary in April. They met while working on the same TSA shift and had a mutual friend.

Daniel is a TSA manager (TSM), while Anthia is a Duty TSM for TSA Atlanta. Like the Hunters, the Jenkins work opposite shifts – Daniel the morning shift and Anthia afternoon and evening hours.

“It allows one of us to be at home with the kiddos each day,” said the Jenkins. “Working together doesn’t bother us, but it has made our work/life balance tricky at times. TSA is part of our origin story, and we wouldn’t trade it.”

They seldom talk about work away from the TSA checkpoint unless their jobs have the potential to impact their family.

“We don’t get each other involved in our work affairs,” they said. “It’s important for us to maintain the confidence of the people who confide in us.”

They said they never discuss or argue over the screening SOP, noting, “We both tend to be by the book. When we’re home, we are Dan and Anthia/Daddy and Mommy, not TSA management.”

They attribute their happy marriage while working for TSA to “adherence to our faith, love we share with each other and the support from our family.”

The Jenkins’ favorite date is anywhere they have to sign a liability waiver (e.g., whitewater rafting, ATV, zip lining) and admit they rarely celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“We promised to dote on each other all the time, not just the big holidays.”

By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs