Ali, 62, is the Lebanese owner of a small business and a deliveryman. Beginning his day at 5:30 am, he and his nephew collect boxes of fresh eggs from a company in Shuwaikh.
From 6 am, you can find him roaming around Kuwait in his minivan. Venturing from Kuwait City, where I met him, Ali’s minivan rolls through Hawally and Maidan Hawally before a final stop in Salmiya. Every day, he delivers eggs to baqalas, restaurants and confectionery shops.
You can have almost anything delivered in Kuwait nowadays – from food to footwear. Shops rely on daily deliveries to keep their products fresh and satisfy customers. But no one every thinks about the men – and sometimes women – who spend their days navigating Kuwait’s notoriously congested traffic, fighting for parking and delivering the range of every day goods necessary for keeping the country running smoothly.
For Ali, the life of a delivery driver means more work but greater personal freedom. At his age, Ali enjoys the mundane routine of the job, despite his ill health. “I took this job after retiring from a private company in 2010,” Ali said as he unloaded cartons at a Hawally baqala. “I have a small problem with my eye now, so I asked my nephew to help me with the deliveries. It tears a lot, which irritates me. Thank God, I have an operation scheduled for Feb 14. Other than that, I can still see clearly,” he told Kuwait Times.
But despite his eye problem, Ali continues to do his job. “I’ve worked hard to secure my regular customers. If I do not deliver them an item, maybe they will replace me with one of my competitors. I can’t afford to lose them over a small eye problem, so I deliver the eggs they need despite my ailment,” Ali said.
By 7:30 am, he has already delivered half the boxes loaded in his minivan. Each carton contains 12 trays – 360 eggs in total. “It’s not heavy, and with my stamina, I can carry it. I might be 62, but apart from my eyes, I’m fully healthy – as good as 20!” he joked.
Ali has six adult children in Lebanon. He began working for a private foodstuff company in Kuwait in 1985 – every day for the next six years. After this marathon stretch without a break, he used to visit Lebanon every two years.
“When I retired as a storekeeper, I jumped straight into this smalltime business. It was the best thing to do at my age. I had enough of working under a boss; of not being able to do things my own way because I had to follow his orders. I still work hard now, but I don’t have a boss and I am not ordered around. I am not being scolded and I never have to face any late remarks. I work at my own leisure,” he said contentedly.
Of course, challenges remain if items are not delivered on time or if he runs out of stock. “I have some customers that need fresh eggs every day, like sweetshops that use the whites and yolks for their cakes and chocolates. If this happens, I try to find other sources. If this does not work and I can’t get eggs from another company, the last thing I do is plead. I feel bad when this happens,” Ali said.
Given that he only works until midafternoon, most of his time is spent doing side jobs like tending his friend’s garage or entertaining visitors. “I’m used to doing little things for my friends or around the house, but more often than not I’m entertaining guests!” he beame
By Ben Garcia