Hurried air travelers on Thursday got an unexpected taste of the holidays when airline passenger service agent Robert Bahadur burst forth in song.

In a powerful, operatic voice, Bahadur performed "O Holy Night," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night" in the atrium at Charleston International Airport.

He sang near 20 Christmas trees in the lobby, including one decorated like a snowman that was judged most creative. It was an entry by Bahadur's employer, Delta.

Bahadur's grandfather sang for the silent movies in India. He leads the music ministry at International Family Church in Charleston. For years, he has been known at the airport for practicing his church hymns between flights.

"I love to sing, and when I sing, I don't sing softly," he said.

He performed before reporting for duty as a passenger service agent. On Wednesday, he came to the airport on his day off to sing holiday classics.

Bahadur has a reputation as a calming influence in situations where passengers and ticket agents don't see eye to eye, said Susan Stevens, airport director.

"I think he's very impressive," Stevens said of Bahadur's voice. "I think with some training, he could have been world-class."

He exudes a calm happiness that he said reflects his faith.

"It's the joy of the Lord that is in me," he said.

Judy Olmstead, an accountant at the airport, enjoyed the show. "He's a wonderful person and a wonderful singer."

He sings to glorify God and the vocal gift he was given.

"He is the reason why we are celebrating what we are celebrating," Bahadur said.

Bahadur, 56, said he left Pakistan in 1969 and lived in Canada for 27 years before coming here. He has been singing in the airport lobby for three years.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711.