x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Lorry driver wins Dh3.67m in Dubai Duty Free draw as company celebrates 30 years

Celebrations for Dubai Duty Free's 30th anniversary have been beneficial for some.

DUBAI // Dreams do come true – just ask the lorry driver who won US$1 million (Dh3.67m) in a draw at the emirate’s airport on Friday.

Ashraf Mohamed, 51, jotted down his daughter’s name on his entry for the draw, part of celebrations marking 30 years of Dubai Duty Free (DDF).

“I always hoped to win. If you have no hope, you will not get anything,” said the Dubai resident, originally from Kochi in India’s Kerala state.

“Every time I tried, I didn’t win. Every time I spent on tickets there was too much problem at home.

“But this year I put in my daughter Rabia’s name and we finally, finally won.”

Mr Mohamed, who has driven heavy trailer lorries from the UAE to Qatar and Kuwait for the past decade, had bought about 80 tickets in DDF millionaire draws.

A ticket costs Dh1,000 and the winner is eligible for a prize of up $2m.

Mr Mohamed plans to open a business in India with his winnings.

“I’m older now so with this money I can relax a little and it will help my family,” he said.

The lorry driver was not the only winner of the day – Dubai resident Ramnath Balakrishna, a bank officer, was handed the keys to a McLaren sports car.

Like Mr Mohamed, he had entered many DDF draws.

Mr Balakrishna won a McLaren coupe – an MP4-12C two-door sports car – after buying a Dh500 draw ticket online.

“I have been a regular with the draw for the past two years,” he said. “I bought tickets whenever I really liked the car. I first could not believe it, and then was too excited when I got a call saying I won.”

The expatriate drives a Mercedes SUV and may sell the McLaren – but not before he has tested it out.

“Everybody in my office is so eager to drive with me,” he said. “Most people I know are saying they will also try. My winning has shown them that anyone can win.”

The promotions were part of ongoing celebrations on Friday and passengers at all three of Dubai International Airport’s terminals received discounts of between 25 and 30 per cent on goods.

Tourists said they took the opportunity to get a deal, with passengers carrying armloads of shopping bags and carts spilling over with DDF bags.

“It is very cool to get these lower prices,” said Maxim Ali, who works in Moscow. “My wife and I have bought many watches and she has bought a lot of cosmetics.”

Mojdeh Ranjbar, a Dubai housewife heading to Tehran, said she bought classic watch brands due to the discounts.

“It is fabulous to get watches at these prices,” she said. “I have bought watches, perfume and make-up. These are great deals.”