Sad, happy and touched. That was what we felt when we learned about this fellow Malaysian who reached out to a stranger who was going to starve herself because she had no money to eat.
It happened about two weeks ago when Mohd Ashraff Khan was at the BHP petrol station at Mutiara Damansara, Selangor to refuel his motorcycle.
While paying at the counter, the 35-year-old noticed a lady who was walking slowly into the mart and she looked like she was having some difficulties walking properly.
"The lady was walking back and forth restlessly in the store, looking at bread and snacks. She took a cup of instant noodles but put it back on the shelf in the end," Ashraff recalled.
He observed her from afar as she went to the counter and gave an RM5 note to the cashier for a small bottle of mineral water.
Somehow, Ashraff just couldn't stop thinking about why she had put the cup of instant noodles back on the shelf and he was troubled by the thought
Ashraff went up to one of the workers at the petrol station and asked if he knows the lady. The worker recognised lady and said that she would frequent this petrol station once in a while to buy mineral water.
The lady was already gone when the conversation ended but something tugged at Ashraff's heart, so he decided to go around the area to look for her. He had an inkling of why she did not buy that cup of noodles.
He did manage to find her, thankfully. He went straight up and approached the lady, asking her, "I saw you holding a Maggi Cup earlier in BHP. Why did you put it back? Have you eaten?"
"That instant noodle is too expensive to eat today. I'm left with RM5 to survive until pay day comes," the lady replied.
Her answer instantly broke Ashraff's heart. He knew that he needed to do something. Without thinking twice, he asked if the lady would head to the petrol station again so that he could get her something to which she agreed.
Upon reaching the petrol station later, Ashraff asked the lady to take whatever she wanted - it was his treat.
"I didn't care what she wanted to take but all she took was just a cup of instant noodles, orange juice and some bread. She said those were enough for the day."
Ashraff managed to get to know her a little more from the short time they shared together in the store
"Her name is Azizah and she comes from Langkawi. She's married and her children are still living in Langkawi. She used to stay in Penchala with her husband but now she lives alone in Kota Damansara in a rented room that is shared with workers from Indonesia," he said.
The Johor-born found out that Azizah forks out RM150 every month for the shared room. Her monthly wages of RM700 is earned by sweeping the roads around the Mutiara Damansara area.
"Her husband? He left her hanging by a thread after he sold off their inheritance."
She does not wish to burden her children as she understands that they have their own problems and family to think of. These circumstances caused her to endure some difficult hardships in life as she struggles alone to live with the little money she has.
Azizah, clearly touched by the kindness of a stranger, was teary as she sat and ate the warm cup of noodles
Ashraff too, struggled to contain his tears.
Moved by her life's story, Ashraff decided to help her out through his NGO, Empire Project. He has been operating Empire Project for the last few years with a small group of regular volunteers to reach out to the local community through charity works.
Knowing that Azizah is going through some very challenging times, he wanted to encourage her to persevere and get through this life with a little contribution.
The very next day after their first meeting at the petrol station, Ashraff met up with Azizah again to hand over some necessities and kitchen supplies that would last her for the next three months.
Ashraff is working with the authorities to get Azizah some form of monthly aid that will hopefully ease her financial burdens.
"This is the reality of life and these people exist among us in Malaysia. We should care more for the people around us," Ashraff said.
"I'm not trying to be a hero but I want to share this so that we will all be more caring towards the welfare of others in this life."
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