'Arbab of Satwa' distributes free ice cream to hungry in partnership with Baskin Robbins
Dubai - Nearly 400 to 700 individuals have been enjoying free food from the Arbab's hands every day
A few hundred residents returning home from work, and many hungry tourists passing by the 2nd December Street in Satwa were in for a treat on Thursday. Like he has been doing for the last three years, Pakistani national Shahid Mahmood, popularly known as the 'Arbab of Satwa', was distributing free pizza slices to hungry bystanders at 7pm.
Nearly 400 to 700 individuals have been enjoying free food from the Arbab's hands every day. The menu includes pizza slices, burgers, rice and chicken, and much more. However, on Thursday, thanks to a partnership with one of the UAE's most popular ice cream brand Baskin Robbins, everyone who enjoyed a pizza slice also received a cup of ice cream.
Moved by Mahmood's story, which first appeared in the Khaleej Times print and digital editions on September 24, Baskin Robbins management decided to reach out to the community hero and distribute ice cream along with him. A whopping 550 Baskin Robbins ice creams and 62 large boxes of pizzas were served to Satwa residents and visitors on Thursday.
Coincidentally, Mahmood's story began outside the Satwa branch of Baskin Robbins three years ago.
"I started my journey here. I gave free ice cream to a woman who was distributing pamphlets in the heat. That one ice cream became two and three. Today, I feed over 500 people every day," said Mahmood.
Jude Perera, head of marketing at Baskin Robbins, told Khaleej Times: "We greatly appreciate this cause, that has been ongoing for three years. It was a hidden one until KT came out with a story on what Mahmood is doing. When we heard about where it had all begun, we wanted to participate in this worthy cause."
He added, "I am personally extremely touched and honoured to be with a person like this. He is a hidden hero in the community."
The 'Arbab' thanked Khaleej Times and said: "The KT video has more than a million views on Facebook. It has received half a million views on YouTube, and every day it is growing in number. Several restaurants have volunteered to enter into partnerships. They are offering their food at cost price. I want to thank KT for giving me the platform."
Mahmood added: "It is the love from the people. They recognise and appreciate what I do for them. I give food to everyone who is hungry and wants to eat a slice. There are no class-wise distinctions made. Rich and poor, men and women - everyone gets a free meal."
He also said the number of people is increasing day-by-day, and he wants more members from the community to get involved in the cause. "Whatever I am earning, I am spending here. I am not a millionaire. My capacity is limited, and it would be great if more people come forward to help others in need."
A Filipino nurse, Arnel, who was standing in line on Thursday, said, "I've been coming here for three years. His kindness is a gift to us."