Airports trigger anxiety. Subway systems cause paranoia. We all know the statistics: it’s riskier to get in your car than it is to board an aircraft or take a train. But our collective memories of bombings, hijackings, and poison gas attacks often turn public spaces of transport into psychic mine fields. Stuck in limbo between the here and there, pushing through a crush of strangers, we are totally vulnerable and alone. Except we’re not. There’s always the voice.

You know, the one that tells us that “smoking inside the terminal is prohibited,” and that “unattended baggage will be removed immediately,” and that “the next stop is Times Square.” It’s sort of irritating, yet something to cling to, as familiar and pervasive as the smell of Cinnabon or axle grease.

It may surprise you to learn that these announcements are not only real people, but for the most part the same two people. They are Carolyn Hopkins and Jack Fox, two cheerful, church-going retirees who also happen to be longtime buddies.

The story of how they came to conquer the sound systems of the majority of major transportation centers across the country is groovier than you’d expect. It has roots in the music industry, and features a homespun business that was able to grow beyond its Southern roots and go global by capitalizing on a weird technological niche.

The next stop is Louisville, KY.