A half-blind guard was fired from his post at the World Trade Center site after he was caught sleeping on the job, the New York Post reported.
A photo obtained by the Post shows the guard, identified as 65-year-old Abdul Basher, leaning back in his chair in a clear state of slumber. He had been the only guard stationed in 1 World Trade Center’s south lobby, the newspaper reported.
According to the Post, a Port Authority worker spotted Basher sleeping around 2:45 a.m. Saturday. The guard was fired immediately.
Basher told the Post that he can’t open his left eye and has “hazy” vision in his right. He said he couldn’t believe he had been assigned the sensitive guard post in the first place.
“Sometimes I cannot recognize people, stairs,” he said. “That post was so hard to cover for me. It was very, very stressful. I could barely see half of the lobby.”
He said he had expected a less critical spot to guard, like a stairwell door.
He added: “The security division is so poorly managed. … Every security guard that works for them is mentally stressed.”
A representative for the SEIU Local 32BJ told the Post that Basher had been “just getting ready to go on disability.” Basher was named the union’s “Security Officer of the Year” for 2013.
The incident is the latest black eye for security at the World Trade Center site. Earlier this month, a New Jersey teenager made it past another sleeping guard to sneak to the top of the tower in the middle of the night. On Monday, a group of thrill-seekers turned themselves in after parachuting off the building last year.
But on Tuesday, two CNN producers were arrested on trespassing charges after apparently trying to report on how easy it is to slip onto the site.
For his part, Basher insisted he wasn’t really asleep: “To my knowledge, actually I was not sleeping. I was mistaken to be sleeping. I was exercising my eyes.”
(H/T: New York Post)