“My grandmother, who is now no longer around, reminded me that the greatest gift we can give another is kindness, and when helping others, expect nothing in return,” 26-year-old R. Samuel said.
The entrepreneur met stroke survivor V. Velayudum who was always seen helping the roadside stall vendors for the past eight years around the First Garden area after being diagnosed with a stroke 14 years ago and subsequently sidelined by his own family.
The 54-year-old Vela was often taken advantage of by other vendors. However, despite all the criticism and difficulties he endured, he has kept going and continues to carry on.
“He came by my mother’s stall to help out one day, that is how I learned about his plight. He speaks with jumbled speech as he could only speak a few words due to his condition. It took us a while to fully grasp what he was saying,” Samuel explained.
Living by his grandmother’s words, Samuel offered a hand by helping Vela set up his very own business selling desserts next to his mother’s stall.
At present, Vela sells coconut jelly by day and nasi lemak and panipuri in the evening at 4pm. Receiving quite a fair bit of customers, the coconut jelly would sometimes sell out within an hour upon the opening of the stall at 11am.
While helping him source coconut jelly to sell, Samuel has plans to also expand the menu by adding more affordable food and even handmade phone cases to attract fellow patrons.
Coconut jelly is the stall’s hot item as Vela can sell as many as 40 cups a day.
“I am not hoping for anything in return, I just want to do my level best to help him. Having a business of your own is always better than working for others. He would get paid in kind and cash when he was working for other vendors.
“Now, he doesn’t need to rely on others to earn a living. I want him to have an identity of his own. I believe, despite where we come from, we all deserve to have an identity,” Samuel stressed.
Samuel is currently looking for home-based bakers who are interested in selling their baked goods at Vela’s stall.
Located opposite Thaveethin Kudaram Church at Jalan Ng Weng Hup, the stall opens daily at 11am.
The stall will reopen on October 7 as Vela is undergoing minor surgery at the moment.
Anyone who wants to lend a helping hand can contact Samuel at 017-9005796.