Giving with no return is an attribute, Al Badwawi said, he learned from the founding father of the UAE.
Dubai - His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had earlier ordered a promotion for Al Badwawi in appreciation to his kindness.
A customs officer, who lent his car to a stranded Syrian family to enjoy their Eid holidays in Oman, was honoured by the International Institute for Tolerance (IIT) with the first Tolerance Award.
Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, the institute's director, presented Salem Abdullah bin Nabhan Al Badwawi, an Emirati customs officer, with a token of appreciation for his noble and unselfish act. The honouring ceremony was attended by Brigadier-General Ahmed Khalfan Al Mansouri, secretary-general of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tolerance Award, and Khalifa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, general coordinator of the World Tolerance Summit.
Citing the customs officer as an embodiment of an Emirati value on tolerance and kindness, Dr Shaibani expressed his pride and high hopes that such "touching encounters would spur strong awareness on the advocacy of tolerance". "It would offer the world a glimpse on how Dubai and the rest of the UAE truly lead and live the virtue of tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
"We have inherited a culture of tolerance because of the teachings of Islam and through the inspiration of our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan," said Dr Al Shaibani. "Being tolerant does not mean alienating people from other cultures and from other religious and political backgrounds but responding to them with concern and respect."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had earlier ordered a promotion for Al Badwawi in appreciation to his kindness.
The noble act came at a time when IIT is gearing up for the first-ever World Tolerance Summit (WTS) in November. "We are keen in sharing real life stories on how the practice of tolerance is possible in a nation such as the UAE where a diverse population live and thrive. We are inviting Al Badwawi to be one of the speakers in a youth session," said Khalifa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the general coordinator of WTS.
"It would be an ideal platform to share his story to inspire other people how a simple act of kindness could mean to another human being. His is a story of kindness shown to a stranger from another nation and this is what WTS is aiming for, compassion, respect, and tolerance for all," added Al Suwaidi.
How Emirati customs officer helps the stranded family
During the first day of Eid in the early morning, the 33-year-old Salem Abdullah bin Nabhan Al Badwawi, an Emirati customs officer, came across a Syrian family who were stranded near Hatta border on their way to Muscat, Oman as their car had stopped working.
Trying to contact different workshops to get help but with no response, Al Badwawi decided to lend his car to allow the family to enjoy their Eid getaway.
"It was the end of my working day, so I asked them to drop me home and take my car," Al Badwawi, based in Hatta, told Khaleej Times.
"The Syrian father couldn't believe it. He was surprised I would lend my car to someone I don't know," he added.
Thanks to Al Badwawi's helping act, the family was able to enjoy their holiday before coming back on Tuesday. "The family left their car to be fixed in Hatta, and I insisted they keep my car until the maintenance was done.
Al Badwawi added that both parties received their cars on Thursday afternoon after he made sure he provided help to the family until the car was fixed.
While his car was gone, Al Badwawi said he went to work with his friends. "It wasn't difficult to find alternatives to move around," he added.
Giving with no return is an attribute, Al Badwawi said, he learned from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE.
"It's in our traditions and I feel honoured to give back to my country," he said. "I also feel supported from the government that continues to encourage such acts of kindness."