New York Bodega Worker Gives Free Snacks To Customers Who Solve His Math Problems
“I’m just going to keep going," Ahmed Alwan said.
February 08, 2020 at 12:07 pm
A New York convenience store employee found a creative way to feed the community and promote education.
Ahmed Alwan has worked at his father’s bodega, Lucky Candy, since he was 14 years old. Over the years, he’s managed to build a rapport with the store’s clientele. He started asking children to do math problems in exchange for a five-second shopping spree.
“I started playing this game with little kids a while back and they loved it,” he told The New York Post.
Eventually, the game spread to some of his older customers, and it became a public service.
"I've always helped out people in the neighborhood. They’ve known me since I was a little kid. I know half of them by name and, ya know, sometimes they need credit," Alwan told Today. "This neighborhood has a lot of poor people. I see people — some of whom are close customers — sleeping on the train. I used to give them buttered rolls, coffee and banana for free in the morning."
Alwan documents the encounters on TikTok, where they’ve received a lot of attention.
In one clip, Alwan asked OT, a Lucky Candy regular, what is "10×10-50." When OT answers the question correctly, Alwan started a countdown. Instead of snacks, OT grabbed Fluffy, the bodega cat.
“Not my cat!” the young man shouted.
OT jokingly grabbed a rack of nuts and a hookah instead. He eventually settled on $10 and a few bags of nuts.
“He was pretty happy about the snacks,” Alwan recalled to The Post.
OT had to come up off the rack though.
"I took the rack back 'cause I need it for my orders," Alwan told Today. "He took some of the peanuts and took some cash. A lot of people want cash."
The video of OT and Fluffy went viral and received over 2 million likes. Alwan’s account has more than 350K followers and over 7 million likes.
Most business owners don’t like to give out free stuff, but Alwan said his dad is fine with his shenanigans because it isn’t costing him anything.
“My dad isn’t really worried," he explained to FOX 5 NY. "It’s coming out of my paycheck. But he says, yeah, just do your thing.”
He doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“I’m just going to keep going," he said, "Keep helping, keep asking math problems."