For most people, birthdays are a time for receiving gifts. But for one man in Singapore, it’s the exact opposite.
Meet ‘Uncle Jimmy’, the ice cream seller who gives out 1,000 free treats each year on his birthday.
Every weekday, the 72-year-old drives his motorcycle to the same spot he’s been working at for the past 15 years, sets up his stall and waits for customers to trickle in.
But 22 March – his birthday – is a little different.
On that day a long queue of customers forms in front of his stall, all hoping to get their hands on the free ice cream he gives out.
“I attended an event at NUS (National University of Singapore) and some students said they would help me set up a Facebook page,” he said. “My children taught me how to use it and now I update it by myself.”
Despite his sunny demeanour, the businessman has had difficult times in recent years.
“My wife passed away three years ago, before that I had to work to pay her hospitalisation bills,” he said. “After she passed I wanted to give up my business, but after three months I found myself coming out and selling ice cream again.”
He proudly said he works from 1-6pm every weekday in Singapore’s Lavender area.
“I’ve been here for 15 years. My daughter keeps telling me ‘Pa, just stop working’, but I want to do it for as long as I can,” he said.
“Some people look at me and ask why I’m not at home resting, but if I don’t come out I’ll be in the house alone… that’s even more boring.”
And how long does he plan on giving out free ice cream?
“I’ll give [them] out every birthday, as long as I live,” he says, before cracking into a grin. “I feel happy here.”