Every day, new immigrant Basharat Mahmood and his father would ride their bikes five kilometres through the snow to work in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
They worked a 12-hour shift as general labourers at Cericola Farms on Reagens Industrial Parkway before making a second five-kilometre trek home.
“(It was) very hard for us, especially in this cold and stormy weather and when you are already tired after 12 hours shift. Sometimes we even couldn’t go to work due to heavy snowfall or rain,” Mahmood said.
He and his father, Irshad Ali, are now thanking local resident Munawar Chudary, who has volunteered to drive them to work every morning and take them home every night.
“It means a lot to us. Before we were going to our work by our bicycles. It was tiring, dangerous and very risky in this cold and snowing weather,” Mahmood said.
“We are very grateful for this courtesy ride. This is an amazing act of kindness. Now we reach home and at work safe and sound without any fear and (leg) pain.”
Chudary, a real estate agent, said someone saw the pair riding their bikes through the snow every day and contacted him because he runs Community First BWG, a charitable group that is in the process of becoming a registered charity.
The organization aims to help socially and economically disadvantaged people in BWG through a number of initiatives, including giving rides to people who need them.
“I came here to Canada in 1992. At that time, we suffered a lot,” said Chudary. “This was our first helper-seeker (situation). (Biking to work in the snow) could be very dangerous for them. They could lose their life. We thought, ‘We are very fortunate. We have everything. We should help them.’ I thought I should be a good example for other people.”
Mahmood and Ali, originally from the village of Bahawalpur in Pakistan, arrived in BWG last October from Sri Lanka and are happy for the support from local residents.
“Bradford is a very nice place to live. Here we have all basic facilities and peace to start a new and safe life,” Mahmood said. “People of Bradford are very nice and kind.”