Every September—and beyond—hundreds of United employees exemplify how Good Leads The Way in their communities. During United’s annual September of Service, employees around the world dedicate their time to volunteering and giving back. We partner with non-profit organizations and host service events, including airport activations, off-site events, and virtual gatherings where United employees can get involved and serve their community.
For Ahsan Khurshid, a Senior IT Developer who has been at United for six years, volunteering is about the deeper connections he forms while spending time helping others. “One of the beauties about volunteering is that you are making a difference no matter which assignment you are working on,” he says, adding that he believes the commitment to community service is one of the company’s best features: “United provides a safe environment to spread kindness, practice compassion, and show affection to those who need it the most.”
Khurshid goes on to say that every effort matters, whether it’s taking a day to stock a food pantry or spending several hours at a time volunteering for a cause of his choice. Working together with United employees and other volunteers keeps him coming back. “Every new opportunity brings joy to my heart,” he says. “I always meet new people and learn something I didn’t know before.”
Although Khurshid has many wonderful memories volunteering with United, his favorite memory is decorating gates at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for “Fantasy Flights,” on which children and families are invited to the terminal for a celebration. “Looking at those kids’ faces is just priceless while they collect so many gifts,” he says. “Being in the holiday spirit and having those moments always brings joy to my heart.”
Through his time volunteering with organizations such as SPARK, which aims to provide life-changing apprenticeships to youth in underserved communities, Khurshid has made many contributions he’s proud of. Still, it’s the connections he has made with those he’s impacted and volunteered alongside that matter the most to him. “I can’t thank all the people I’ve met along the way enough,” he says. “They’ve inspired me on so many levels and let me grow and become a better human. I’m happiest and proudest of their contributions to my life.”
As United employees and others around the world dedicate this month to service, Khurshid shares some advice for the volunteer in all of us: “Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality—it’s all through our own individual prisms. The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up, and we can do that by helping and serving them. Let’s do that together.”