Dubai: A street vendor, who became a hero in Kerala for donating 10 sacks of clothes for flood victims, has again shown how kind-hearted he is.
Noushad on Thursday night rejected a cash gift of Rs100,000 offered by a Dubai-based Indian businessman. Instead, he has asked that the money be donated for flood relief.
Hailing from the flood-hit south Indian state, Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travel, had on Monday announced the gift through a Facebook video after watching the viral footage of Noushad’s generous gesture of donating his Eid stock.
Ahmed flew down to Kerala to meet the small-time garment seller on Thursday.
“I came to Kannur, met my parents and then took the next flight to Kochi to go and meet Noushadikka [Noushad brother, how he is fondly addressed],” Ahmed told Gulf News over phone from Kerala.
However, during their meeting, which was also live streamed on Facebook on Thursday night, Noushad rejected the cash gift that Ahmed had announced and asked him to donate it for the flood relief operations.
“Then I decided to purchase clothes from him for that amount so that he gets the money, not as a charity, but as payment for his readymade garments,” said Ahmed.
Since Noushad informed him that he was due to open a new textile shop — a 100 square foot rented space in a local shopping complex — next week, Ahmed said he would make arrangements to purchase the clothes on the inaugural day.
He also announced that he will donate another Rs100,000 to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund on behalf of Noushad.
Handing over two cheques worth Rs100,000 each to Noushad, Ahmed reiterated his promise to bring him and family to Dubai for a visit.
Visit to Dubai
Speaking to Gulf News over phone, Noushad said he finally accepted the offer for the Dubai trip because he was told that his visit would inspire many Indian expats, especially businessmen, to contribute for flood relief and to rebuild Kerala.
He said he would give specially discounted rates for Ahmed when he makes the purchase from his shop as that would benefit more people in distress.
“I had donated rice and clothes to people affected in floods last year also. But I had not told that to anybody. This year also I did the same only. It was a small gesture from my side. But somehow it became a big deal and the video became viral.”
He said he was heartbroken when he saw the poor response to people who were making rounds in Broadway Ernakulam to collect flood-relief materials.
“Then I brought them to my store room and gave whatever I could give. I never expected this kind of an overwhelming response for that.”
In the FB live video posted by Malayalam actor Rajesh Sharma, Noushad was seen impulsively filling sacks with different types of readymade garments, especially children’s clothing, even after he was asked to stop it as he might incur losses.
Flood of appreciation
After the video won the hearts of Malayalis across the world, Noushad was flooded with calls and messages appreciating his gesture.
Those lauding his effort included Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, Malayalam superstar Mammootty and actor Jayasurya.
“I got calls from the US, Canada, everywhere. Some people told me they will sponsor a new shop for me. But, I have politely rejected that also. I told them to help the needy around them with that money,” said Noushad, who was once a Gulf expatriate.
He said he had worked in a fruit market in Saudi Arabia for nine years and had returned in 2000 after he lost his job due to nationalisation in that job category.