SHAH ALAM: A black car slowly approaches along the gravel track, and M Kanagi nervously sweeps her front porch again.
Ever since her poverty-stricken family’s plight was highlighted on Facebook and by FMT, many well-wishers have visited their rented home in Padang Jawa, even former prime minister Najib Razak.
But in this car was an extra-special visitor: the man who originally told their story and appealed for kind souls to help them.
Adi Kamal, the person the family only knew as the “Malay man” and who Kanagi wanted to thank in person, was arriving to meet them.
Adi and his wife, Juita Jayaram, are a naturally reserved couple who never wanted to be in the public eye.
FMT finally persuaded them to let us arrange this visit and to allow our cameras to accompany them.
As Adi and Juita, stepped from the car, Kanagi and her husband S Sukumarah rushed to greet them.
“Terima kasih abang, kakak,” Kanagi cried, struggling to find words to express her happiness.
Inside their small home, the family pulled out all the stops for Adi and Juita, giving them iced syrup to drink and offering them the only chairs in the house.
Adi and Juita preferred to sit on the floor with the family, chatting about the day Adi met Sarmini and Sukumarah and how life has changed for the family since then.
Kanagi excitedly showed them a framed newspaper clipping with Adi’s photo. She told them how they have been looking for him since that day in Shah Alam, but could not find him.
The children told them how they are now enjoying school and doing well.
Adi and Juita gave Hariaran an inflatable football, and Sarmini a school backpack. The children’s faces lit up as they received their gifts. Some chocolate bars went down well too.
The couple were given a tour of the small home and shown the bed, cupboard and fridge bought with the donations which poured in after Adi’s post.
But pride of place in the house goes to the new electrical equipment bought to replace Sukumarah’s bucket and rags so he can start his own proper car washing business.
He told them he still faces challenges, such as obtaining a business license from the Shah Alam City Council, but he is sure the worst is now over.
“Thank you so much, you helped us and we are now okay,” he said.
“In the past no one cared how hard life was for us. For two years I washed cars on the street. Thousands of people passed by yet no one came to help except you.” His beaming smile told its own story.
Towards the end of the hour-long visit, Kanagi could no longer hold back her emotions, and tears streamed down her face.
“Until the day I die, I will never forget what you both have done for us,” she wept as Juita embraced her.
Happy they had finally met and thanked their “Malay man”, the family waved goodbye as the black car drove away, back down the gravel track.
Adi reflected on the visit. “I wish them all the best and I want to thank everyone who helped share their story.
“When I first met Sukumarah he looked exhausted. He was definitely living a very difficult life. Today, he is a different person.”
The camera-shy Good Samaritan hopes that one day Malaysians will treat one another equally regardless of race and religion, and come to the aid of needy people they encounter.
“Just be nice to each other and be grateful for what you have because there are a lot of people who work hard and yet have nothing.”