20-year-old Ahmed Alwan began playing this game to help his community and this game has since gone viral.
The cashier at the Lucky Candy in the Bronx is being hailed for his innovative, fun, and selfless way of giving back to the community. Two weeks ago, 20-year-old Ahmed Alwan began playing a game with his customers and it has since gone viral. Keeping the rules simple, Alwan asks his customers to solve a math equation and if they get it right, they have five seconds to grab anything off the shelves and take it for free. However, the one thing that you're not allowed to take is Alwan's cat. (yup, someone tried to grab the feline.)
During an interview with CNN, the college student explained, "All I wanted to do was to help people. But I wanted to make it fun. So I made a TikTok and chose a challenge, asking them a math question. It's a way to entertain and educate people in need while putting a smile on their face, too." Unsurprising, his idea worked and 13 videos later Alwan become an internet sensation, boasting over 460,000 followers on TikTok and 59,000 on Instagram. In the videos, Alwan is heard asking his customers simple questions like, "What's 5 times 5?" or "9 times 9 minus 5?" If they answer correctly, the cashier begins the count down and sometimes extends the time by a few quarters to allow shoppers to collect whatever they need for $0.
Now, the items that Alwan gives away for free, is compensated by him paying out of his own pocket. The Bronx Community College student is not worried about the money but is more focused on assisting low-income community members. Alwan's father Saleh Aobad, who is also the owner of the store, expressed that he is "very proud" of his son's work. "It's great to see him do good and help out the community, and most importantly represent Islam," said Aobad, an immigrant from Yemen. "It's impacting the business in a positive way, bringing awareness and attention to the store as well as spreading positivity throughout the community."
Alwan, who is currently studying to become a pharmacist, has always been very charitable, revealed his father. He often allows customers to take food and household supplies on credit. Additionally, the kind soul offers free muffins, coffee, and banana to those who he spots sleeping at the nearby train station or near the tracks on cold mornings. Although his TikTok and Instagram videos have been mostly viewed because they are heartwarming and funny, Alwan says that the community has done far more for him.
"This changed our relationship with the community big time. They're all showing me so much love and lining up at the store just for a chance to play. We have so many visitors coming to take pictures and say hi. But it's not about me. It's about the community," he explained. The student plans to continue making these videos and possibly come up with more creative questions. He has also set up a GoFundMe account for those willing to support the game and enable him to help out more people. "The money will be going towards products and food that would be used for the challenges and even simple donations for customers in need," he added.