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Everyday Heroes: Muddessar Ahmad

Entrepreneur

When Muddessar Ahmad opened his first 24-hour gas station on West Avenue in Conyers, he and his business partner shared one cot in a back room of the store. When one was on duty, the other one was sleeping and vice versa.

“We didn’t need a second cot,” he said.

Times were tough for the young Pakistani man who spoke Urdu and was learning to speak English. So tough in fact that he says they wouldn’t drink a can of soda out of the cooler because they didn’t have the money to replace it.

However, success came their way and that one store grew into 18 more, setting Ahmad on a journey that now finds him as a U.S. citizen, community leader, and major land owner. He’s also considering running for political office.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Muddessar Ahmad

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Muddessar Ahmad

“The United States is a wonderland from all the outside world, and it’s a dream come true for not only me, but most immigrants,” Ahmad said. “This is the best country to live.”

He came to the U.S. in January 2001, with just $2,200 in his pocket and a master’s degree in economics. He got a job at a gas station in Baltimore, Md., and remembers the day after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when a customer walked into the station, cursed him out and broke the windshield in his car.

“Thank God things changed,” Ahmad said. “I always tell people there is a guy upstairs I call God. He has always held my finger and walked me through life.”

He began working for an oil company in Baltimore and said he was used to working 100 hours or more a week just to survive, all the while dreaming about having his own business. In June 2003, he found a station that had been closed for six months that was located in Conyers. The oil company wanted to lease it, and he says he and his partners were desperate to start their first business. The deal was made, and Ahmad and his partners opened their first station.

Within the next few years, that grew into 19 stations in 19 different Georgia counties selling gas from Shell, Chevron, Marathon, Texaco and Exxon. But Ahmad said it was Rockdale that won his heart.

“The town is so small so people started noticing me,” Ahmad said. “You are connected in the community. I’m so blessed. My religion is Muslim, and I had the problem where people did not like me because of that. In Rockdale, I might count three people who discriminated because of that.”

“In Rockdale, I didn’t see any discrimination. I saw love. I saw all of the good things,” he said.

Ahmad’s story is an inspiration for immigrants coming to the United States and a reminder of the importance of diversity. His success continues to inspire his community. He has received dozens of awards and is proud to be called a “community servant,” with hopes of someday seeking elected office.

“Yes, there was a time I was running behind the money,” Ahmad said. “It was the only thing in my head. Now, it’s important to leave a legacy to other people of my community.”

HOW TO HELP

For more information, please visit https://muddessar.com/


WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER: A SPECIAL PROJECT

This place we call home is filled with ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary feats. Their selfless acts make this region so special – and they bring out the best in all of us. With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share their inspiring stories, celebrate their accomplishments, and offer ways that you can help.

Just as the 55 people we’re profiling can’t do it alone, nor can we. That’s why we worked closely with our partners to bring you this collection of uplifting stories.

We hope they leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the busy new year that lies ahead.

We hope they make you feel more connected to your community or to your neighbors.

And maybe, just maybe, they will motivate you to come up with your own small way to make a big difference in the lives of others.

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