At 64, Abdul Quddus Chaudhry is nearing retirement. When he reaches that age, he’ll have been working at LaGuardia Airport for a decade. His position as a security officer was advertised on a poster he saw, and soon he’d been hired. He took classes to get his guard’s license and now works at one terminal’s baggage claim, monitoring access to the runways. “They don't change these positions every day ... because we remember the faces — that this is this company — only when they go from here. They show the ID, we know that,” he says, explaining the importance of close attention to detail.
It’s evident how seriously Chaudhry takes the safety of LaGuardia and the millions of people flying in and out of it every day. He checks each and every ID, and the documentation of every construction worker. He makes sure they fill out the correct form and are accompanied by an appropriate escort. He also checks that any equipment going in and out is safe and approved.
“This is a sensitive place,” he says. Chaudhry says not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of his position, which allows no room for mistakes. That’s one reason Chaudhry keeps things analog with a physical visitor log and paperwork — he’s afraid having a computer screen in front of him would be too distracting.
Chaudhry came to New York City from Pakistan in 2010 with a master’s degree in political science and a law degree. He served as the assistant director of Pakistan’s immigration bureau and eventually started his own law practice. Then two of his sons decided to attend college in the U.S., so Chaudhry followed them. “Now I am American. I am happy over here,” he says. Chaudhry has many other family members here as well. Two of his sons work in insurance and one is an electrical engineer. Chaudhry is proud of his family’s achievements in education — four generations of Chaudhrys have earned masters degrees.
When he’s not at work, Chaudhry likes spending time at home and keeping up with Pakistani politics. “I’m an Aries, and Aries’ love to stay home,” he says. He lives with his wife in Flushing.
Chaudhry is proud of his family’s achievements in education — four generations of Chaudhrys have earned masters degrees.