A big-hearted shop owner with a ‘pay later’ receipt wall to help those struggling with rising costs says he shed tears after generous people heard his story and donated hundreds of pounds.
Abid Hussain has around £2,000 in ‘pay later’ receipts pinned to the wall at his shop, Family Mart Store in Lingdale, East Cleveland, Teesside.
The trusting shopkeeper says while staff at the store have always let people have the odd item “on tick”, things have been getting worse as the cost of living soars, reports Teesside Live.
When the story of his generosity spread, his community rallied round sending hundreds of pounds to help cover the costs, leaving Abid so touched he broke down in tears.
Among the donors were his former colleagues from Tui, where he worked as cabin crew, who raised £420, while a thoughtful stranger even dropped off an envelope containing £100.
Now he’s in talks with the parish council to start providing hot dinners for vulnerable people in the village and has already carried out a trial run.
Speaking about the people he worked with during his 23 years as cabin crew Abid said: “I worked at Luton, Manchester, Gatwick. Five or six years ago I ended up with bowel cancer. I had major surgery and have a colostomy bag. I worked with some fantastic, caring, decent people. But because of my surgery, it became difficult to go back to work.
“My colleagues saw the story and began raising money, they said ‘you are not alone’. They sent £420, these are cabin crew, they’re not rich, they’re ordinary people with big hearts.
“I was quite touched. They had me in tears. I thought ‘that’s why I worked with these people for so long’, they were my family.
“Strangers I don’t even know have been dropping money off, we’ve had letters in the post, somebody walked in with an envelope and gave me £100, they said ‘I don’t want my name mentioned’.
“We’ve had messages from all over the country. We never intended to humiliate anyone or gain sympathy, we would never say who we were helping.
“Our message was that there are good people out there who need help and have just got into a situation where they can’t afford things. Hopefully we’ve inspired other people to do the same.
“Other companies are starting to help with food parcels. That’s what we had hoped would happen. I’m not a major charity, we’re a business. The response has been marvellous, I’m grateful.”