It was like any other day for Syed Ahmad Fathi when he met a man who looked rather troubled while having dinner at Restoran Kandar Pelita in Penang
The 26-year-old had just finished eating his dinner when a man came to the restaurant and sat at the table next to him.
The man ordered a warm glass of water and sat there in quietness, gazing into blank space.
It was an intriguing sight but Syed Ahmad didn't give much thought to the man. Both of them just sat there, minding their own business.
"I continued reading a book by Adam Smith. After half an hour, I ordered another roti kosong since I was hungry," he said.
In a moment, the roti canai that Syed Ahmad ordered came and he noticed the uncle that was still seated beside him. The elderly man was still staring blankly, but he was rubbing his hands together this time.
Suddenly, the man turned around and asked for some roti canai from Syed Ahmad.
"I invited him to sit with me and asked the waiter to take our order. He was extremely happy," Syed Ahmad said.
He was quick to observe that the uncle's hands were trembling. That sight made him a little sad.
"I told the elderly man to order some food and assured him not to worry and order whatever he wanted to eat. It didn't matter because I would pay for him."
The two men casually chatted over the meal and Syed Ahmad learnt some shocking details about this man
"He told me his name is Mydin Pichay bin Abdul. He is 70 years old this year, and was born in Malaysia. Pak Cik Mydin just underwent an eye operation not too long ago and his wife has passed away," Syed Ahmad said.
This was where it got sadder.
Pak Cik Mydin told Syed Ahmad that he used to stay with his family but he was chased out of the house recently.
"His own child told him to find a job, then only would he be allowed to stay in the house. Pak Cik Mydin was not physically fit to work, but that didn't stop him from trying to find a job. He told me that he wanted to find a job at a coffee shop, perhaps washing dishes or making drinks," Syed Ahmad said.
Not only was Pak Cik Mydin left without a roof over his head, but he was also penniless
Syed Ahmad asked Pak Cik Mydin if he had sought for assistance and the elderly man showed him a BR1M receipt and another from the state legislative assembly representative (ADUN), adding that he still have not received both the financial assistance and is waiting to hopefully get them in the next month.
"I asked him, 'Where do you sleep then?'. He said that he will sleep anywhere. Sometimes he would seek shelter under a tree, or in a pondok."
When Syed Ahmad found out that he didn't have any money with him, he handed some money to Pak Cik Mydin without a second thought.
"I wrote my name on a piece of paper and told him to call me if he ever felt too hungry and didn't have any food to eat. I made a promise to him that I would come over and treat him a meal if I was nearby."
The next thing you know, the commendable young man went out of his way to help Pak Cik Mydin open a bank account
After his first meeting with Pak Cik Mydin, Syed Ahmad posted on his Facebook about his encounter and Pak Cik Mydin's sad story as an abandoned father.
Following that, many people came forward with the intention to donate some money to Pak Cik Mydin. To make sure all the funds are properly channelled to Pak Cik Mydin, Syed Ahmad decided to take matters into his own hands.
He had earlier kept Pak Cik Mydin in contact so that they could meet again a few days later. When they met, Syed Ahmad brought Pak Cik Mydin to the bank to set up a bank account only to realise that he already has an existing bank account, but it was inactive.
Syed Ahmad had also arranged the subsequent meet up with Pak Cik Mydin with the intention of bringing him to the Social Welfare Department of Malaysia (JKM)
There, they spent some time discussing with the JKM officers about Pak Cik Mydin's situation, and the officers finally suggested placing Pak Cik Mydin in an old folks home.
However, Pak Cik Mydin was reluctant to comply with that suggestion because it would be difficult for him to meet up with his grandchild if that happens.
At the same time, Syed Ahmad helped to do the all that was necessary to obtain zakat aid on behalf of Pak Cik Mydin.
The JKM officers have also promised to look into Pak Cik Mydin's case to decide on the kind of aid that should be provided to him
The officers said that they would consider providing Pak Cik Mydin with some financial assistance should his child allow him to stay with them.
Otherwise, they would place him in an old folks home under the provision of JKM.
Since that day, Syed Ahmad have not seen Pak Cik Mydin. According to him, the stubborn man would rather live on the streets than lose the chance to meet his grandchild.
"As far as I'm concerned, he is still roaming the streets as he refuses to go to the old folks home."
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