Umar Khan was quite surprised to receive a take away Iftar meal when he pulled in front of Meridien Hotel here to drop off a customer. He was among thousands of taxi drivers in the UAE to be offered a free Iftar.
“I didn’t expect this, but it is such a nice gesture. Whatever there is inside the bag is most welcomed and appreciated,” he said with a big smile. Mohammed Shahim, another taxi driver, found out about this initiative from the taxi company and was quite happy when at 6pm a customer asked to be taken to Le Meridien.
“I don’t know what’s in the bag, but I can’t wait to find out,” he said trying to peek through the lid of the box.
During the hour just before Iftar, nearly 1,000 packs of food and beverages were distributed to taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi alone at the main entrance of six Starwood hotels - Aloft, Le Meridien, Le Royal Meridien, Sheraton Hotel and Resort, St. Regis Saadiyat Island and Westin Golf Resort and Spa.
The Iftar for Cabs initiative is run by the Starwood group every year since 2010 all across Middle East. There are around 2,500 taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi.
“This initiative truly represents the spirit of Ramadan. It gives us great pride as a company to go the extra step to give back to the communities in which we operate,” said Guido de Wilde, Senior Vice President and Regional Director of Middle East Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
“Our Iftar box contains fresh juice, mineral water, Arabic bread, sandwich, selection of fruits and mezzeh (moutabel, fattouch, mixed salad and hummus), as well as dates and Arabic sweets,” explained Martina Venus, Director of Public Relations at Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resorts. “This is our way of saying thank you to cab drivers who work tirelessly throughout the year to provide transportation services to our guests and therewith support our hotels,” added de Wilde.