In case you haven’t seen it, The Terminal is a Steven Spielberg classic released in the before times (2004) about an Eastern European man who gets stuck in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport when he’s denied access to the US, but also can’t return home to his own country because of a military coup.
This is similar to that, but instead of a military coup in a foreign country, 36-year-old Aditya Singh says that he was scared to go back to his home southeast of Los Angeles because of COVID-19.
Singh (below) lives with roommates in Orange, California. He flew into Chicago on a flight from LA, landing at O’Hare International Airport (above) on October 19, 2020, at which point he decided not to leave.
According to the Chicago Tribune, he moved into the airport’s security zone, where, until recently, he lived undetected.
Eventually, United Airlines staff spotted him, asked for identification, and the game was up, especially because he’d managed to obtain an airport ID badge which he was wearing around his neck and which clearly wasn’t his.
The badge actually belonged to an operations manager who had reported it missing Oct. 26. The employees called 911. Police took Singh into custody about 11:10 a.m. Saturday in Terminal 2 near Gate F12.
He is now facing felony charges of criminal trespass in a restricted area of an airport as well as misdemeanour theft charges.
Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz didn’t seem too impressed with the airport when the prosecutor in the case outlined the charges:
“So if I understand you correctly,” Ortiz said, “you’re telling me that an unauthorized, nonemployee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O’Hare airport terminal from Oct. 19, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly.”
He was granted bail on the condition that he doesn’t step foot into the airport again, and if he can pay the $1 000 he needs for his release.
“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” the judge said. “Being in a secured part of the airport under a fake ID badge allegedly, based upon the need for airports to be absolutely secure so that people feel safe to travel, I do find those alleged actions do make him a danger to the community.”
He’s set to be back in court on January 27, 2021.
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