David Christopher, or fondly known as 'Uncle David', is a 65-year-old toy peddler based in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya and today, he is no longer a stranger to the Malaysian community
For the last few weeks, Malaysians have been rushing to the HSBC Bank at Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya to meet Uncle David and buy his toys after his predicament was widely highlighted on social media.
Earlier this week, a man reportedly ordered 250 Pokémon soft toys from Uncle David but bailed out on him after that. Following that, netizens began to spread the word and urged the public to lend their support to the elderly man so that he won't be burdened by the irresponsible act.
Malaysians from all walks of life quickly responded and people immediately began visiting his makeshift stall, buying the toys in bulk.
In fact, the generosity and overwhelming support from Malaysians have seen Uncle David selling the 250 Pokémon soft toys with ease. He reportedly has reached a stage where he is selling about 1,000 soft toys a day for the last few days.
Uncle David has gone viral for several times over the past year, but the man who has battled cancer has remained humble through it all:
Here are seven life-lessons that we can learn from Uncle David:
1. Give back to the society when you can
Uncle David is known for selling his soft toys at only RM10 per toy, a much cheaper rate than other retailers or sellers who usually sell them at a range of RM20 to RM25 each. Instead of exploiting the ongoing craze, Uncle David stuck to this pricing, taking a profit of RM3 each so that his customers are able to purchase from him without burning a hole in their pockets.
He believes that this is a way to give back to society for fervently supporting him.
"This is an income for me but at the same time, this gives people the opportunity to buy them (the toys) cheap."
Although he admits that the profit margin is much smaller, however, with enough volume, he is still able to make enough to survive.
2. Choose to be kind
Uncle David shared with SAYS that once a lady approached him with a good intention - she wanted to give him some money as a form of donation because she didn't want the toys but he stubbornly refused to take it. Instead, he encouraged the lady to buy the toys and donate them to an old folks home. She obliged to Uncle David's request.
When she returned one day, she gave Uncle David a hug, telling him how happy she felt because at the end of the day, she thought she was only helping out Uncle David but in fact, she made many more senior citizens happy with the toys she donated.
The lady told Uncle David that an elderly man at the old folks home was clearly very happy to receive a cute plushie, treating it as a companion and even "talking" to it. It was a sight she couldn't forget.
Uncle David's simple gesture of refusing to take the money for his own made at least thirty other people happier that day.
3. Don't be lazy
Uncle David has always been a hardworking toy peddler. He used to walk around in Klang Valley, from Subang to Sri Hartamas to Paramount Garden just to sell his toys. That was until he had to go undergo chemotherapy sessions to treat leukaemia and as a result, that took a toll on his body and he wasn't able to walk around so much anymore.
Even then, Uncle David made no excuses when he could no longer drive and had to rely on public transportation. The hardworking man would take three trains and two buses to make his way from his house in Pandan Perdana, Cheras to Damansara Utama, where HSBC bank offered him a spot to set up his makeshift stall due to his health condition.
4. Always be grateful for what you have
Speaking to SAYS, Uncle David told us that the country's poor economy has badly affected some of his customers' financial wellbeing as some of them were retrenched.
"Some people don’t buy but they still come up to me and say, 'Uncle, how are you?'. That means they still care. Some also come up to me and say, 'Uncle, I'm sorry I cannot help you because I lost my job.' People are facing their own difficulties. We thank God we still got something to do," he said.
5. Think of your loved ones and never succumb to doing things that are not right, especially those that are illegal
Uncle David has revealed to us that someone had tried to tempt him with money after seeing that he was struggling with make end meets at one point of time. He had tried to persuade Uncle David to push drugs and firearms but as a man of principle, he did not give a second thought to it after he refused the man for the first time.
"Everybody must work hard, be honest and have moral. Whether you are selling things, a taxi driver, or a reporter, it's about honest living," Uncle David said.
He also thought of his son, saying that it will be irresponsible of him to do such things because his son still needs him.
6. Persevere in all circumstances
Throughout the last 15 years as a toy peddler, Uncle David has faced a lot of ups and downs. There were seasons where he struggled to get by but still, he did not resort to any deceitful actions just to make quick money.
Even when his Filipino wife ran away with all his money in 2001, leaving him to take care of their son all alone, Uncle David has done all that he could to give the best for his child.
They lived a simple life together, and today, Uncle David's hard work paid off as his son is studying engineering in the US under a scholarship.
7. Always keep an open mind
When we met Uncle David, he was very friendly and warm towards us. He told us that he had turned down a journalist who came looking for him for an interview once and he noticed that the journalist was fairly disappointed.
However, ever since then, Uncle David has been very accommodating and has promised that he will oblige to anyone who comes up to him for an interview.
After all, he admitted that he used to be sceptical about the media, but he realised that it has helped him tremendously in his business in the last year, especially the social media.
We wish you well, Uncle David! :)