Fayyaz Akhtar Faizi, 73, who works as a food rider, is seen wearing the signature Food Panda uniform at his residence in Islamabad on Wednesday. (AN photo)
A 73-year-old food delivery rider in Pakistan’s Islamabad, who catapulted to social media fame after a recent video clip of him went viral, says he took the job because it was an honorable thing to do to help him pay his debts.
After his retirement from Pakistan’s Finance Ministry in 2003, Fayyaz Akhtar Faizi invested in a mobile shop, which he ran with his son. The business continued to thrive for many years until the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
Faced with mounting bills, including rent and household expenses, Faizi was forced to take out loans that soon jumped to more than $7,700. To pay them off, last year he took a job as a rider at Food Panda delivery service.
“It is an honorable thing to work, so I was not hesitant to leave my retired life and get back to work,” he said. “After all this work, I have managed to pay off about 890,000 Pakistani rupees ($5,350).”
He said that he knew it would not be easy to land a job in Pakistan at the age of 73.
“I knew at Food Panda I would not face the discrimination,” he said. “I got a lot of good response, goodwill and encouragement from everybody.”
Food Panda calls the delivery rider a “role model.”
“Fayyaz is a role model for everyone who wants to earn a living by working flexibly on their own terms,” a company spokesperson told Arab News. “Our platform provides freedom to work.”
Despite his energy and positive approach to life, the situation has not always been easy. A few weeks ago, he had an accident that landed him in hospital for two days. Already a heart patient, Faizi’s woes and medical bills multiplied after the accident.
“It can be very tough,” he said. “I am working again but I cannot function as fast as I previously did.”
“I still need a bit more healing to do. But I am very grateful to Food Panda for once again providing me the opportunity to earn. I will work forever, for however long I can.”
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