‘Bodega Challenge’ Creator Stops to Help Woman Stranded on NYC Highway

On a night when New York City was drenched under pouring rain, a good Samaritan noticed a woman stranded on Manhattan's FDR drive.

On a night when New York City was drenched under pouring rain, a good Samaritan noticed a woman stranded on Manhattan's FDR drive.

As fate would have it, the city’s favorite bodega worker, Ahmed Alwan, affectionately called Meddy, known for his viral 2020 “Bodega Challenge,” would be traveling home at that same time and would encounter the woman alongside another man who had stopped to help her.

“I was in Manhattan going back to the Bronx and I stumbled across Abduwali and this lady on the highway. I wanted to get out and help the lady and I was shocked. She's in the middle of the highway, it's like 12:30 at night, it's raining. She looks scared,” Alwan tells Inside Edition Digital.

“So I had stopped and I got out of my car to go see what's going on. And I already seen Abduwali already helping her with her gas. So she was out of gas. Yeah, so I seen Abdowali and I was very surprised. I'm like, 'Wow, this man's a great guy.' I wanted to come do this kind act, but he was already doing it.”

Alwan found himself curious as to why this stranger – Abdowali Saleh – stopped to help.

Saleh tells Inside Edition Digital that he felt compelled to do so. 

“She said, 'No, I have no gas and I'm not from here.' And I be like, 'Just wait over there, I'll be back.' There was people beeping behind me. So I went on and just went to the gas station, get gas for the girl and came back. I went all the way to Long Island because there was no station close.”

Saleh wound up driving about a half-hour each way to purchase gas for the visitor. They were able to fill up the woman’s tank.

As it turns out, Saleh is no stranger to this type of act. 

He owns 10 bodegas in the city, while at the same time, continuing his work as a community leader and helping those from his native Yemen. 

Their encounter is proof that it’s a small world after all – he knows Alwan’s father and both are from the same country.

“I've been doing my work in the community. So I know his father for a long time, but I never met him before. So it felt great. It felt great because, as I told Ahmed, today is the girl, tomorrow is us. So we all have to help together,” Saleh said.

Now the pair believe the chance encounter has led them to something even greater – starting a non-profit to help others in need

“We could go to different countries, different states within the United States, help poor communities, low income communities. We're going to go to shelters, homeless people, foster cares and everything we could think of,” Alwan says.

"So honestly, I've been planning and he came at the right time," continues Alwan. "He was like, ‘We could scale this to a bigger scale, help as much people as we can. And hopefully in the future we could take it globally.’

"I told him, 'Let's go Ahmed. You have a gift. You didn't need to be in a store. It's not going to be everything chips, the chips and pop. We have more jobs, we have more goals to do it,'” Saleh says.

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