Dubai: For Mohammad Basheer Abdul Khadar, two numbers have proven to be very lucky — EK521 and 0845.
The Dubai expatriate who was on board EK521, the Emirates flight which was involved in an accident after landing last week, struck gold on Tuesday.
His lucky ticket number 0845 was drawn in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire at Concourse A at Dubai International Airport, winning him a cool $1 million (Dh3.67 million).
Indian national Khadar, a 62-year-old grandfather, had purchased the ticket on Eid on his way for a vacation with his family in Thiruvananthapuram in the south Indian state of Kerala.
A fleet administrator with a car dealer group in Dubai, Khadar had made it a habit to purchase a raffle ticket whenever he travelled to his home country.
Khadar became a millionaire after purchasing his 17th ticket, just four months before he was due to retire in December, he told Gulf News in an interview.
“I have been working in Dubai for 37 years, and I have always felt like this is my country. I live a simple life, and now that it’s my time to retire, I feel like God gave me a second life when I survived the plane crash, and blessed me with this money to follow all this up by doing good things,” said Khadar.
Describing his escape along with other passengers from the Emirates plane as a “miracle”, Khadar said he has only God to thank for his survival. “I value the escape as a more precious gift from God and I knew God saved me for some specific purpose. Probably this is it.”
Living in Dubai since 1978, Khadar said he plans to return to India after his retirement to find a job that involves helping people in need.
He wants to help children in Kerala who are in need of financial help and medical support.
“I am blessed to have finally won with Dubai Duty Free and can’t wait to share the news with my family. If you ask me about my plans, I obviously want to help the children in Kerala who are less fortunate than others and need some financial help and medical support”.
“I don’t want to give it to a charity or build a business, I want to go out and find people who really need help and give them money. I was poor, and I know what people go through,” he said.
Khadar now earns Dh8,000 a month. However, he had to struggle a lot for the treatment of his 21-year-old son who became paralysed after an accidental fall just 13 days after birth.
“I had to spend a lot of money on his treatment. Some years back I had to take a loan of Rs1.8 million (Dh99,043) for a major surgery for him. I have managed to pay it back,” said Khadar.
He said he was thankful for his job that also helped him get his daughter married. “I will continue to work till I can. Nothing else can give you the satisfaction of your hard-earned money,” he added.
In 2007, Indian national Sadanand Raghavan, a mechanic in Sharjah, scooped Dh5 million in a Mashreq Bank raffle.
Raghavan, who ran an auto workshop in Sharjah’s industrial area, had come to the UAE in 1977 and took up a job as an auto mechanic.