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Kiosk owner broadens cultural view through travel

Unique stories can be found in the most unlikely of places. Often times many of these stories go unnoticed because people are not curious enough to ask or care. One of these stories that has yet to be told is that of Ahmed Timmy, owner of a make-your-own t-shirt kiosk in the Westfield Mall, located on the corner of Market St. and 4th in San Francisco, CA. Timmy, having traveled to more than 32 states in two years since his arrival in the U. S., shows how he has adapted from a Middle-Eastern upbringing to a West-Coast, fast-paced life.

Timmy may be only in his late twenties but he has seen more of the world than most could hope to see in their whole lives. Originally from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt, Timmy has seen the world from a different set of eyes that most will not ever be able to accomplish; Timmy also speaks a wide variety of languages from Arabic to Spanish, and speaks fluently in English.

Coming to the U.S. two years ago, Timmy lived in Los Angeles until coming to San Francisco in March of 2013. The main focus for relocating his family was because of his wife’s transfer (wife to remain anonymous).

Timmy was open to move because of his enjoyment for adventure. He is not afraid to visit places he has never been to. He explained that every time he visits a new state, he becomes familiar with the area whether its through research or friends thats have previously been there.

“When I came to the United States I was not shocked by the culture difference,” Ahmed said. “The best way to learn about a place, in this case a country, you don’t know or are familiar with, go out and explore until you are comfortable with your surroundings.”

Timmy attended college and received three degrees, customs, graphic designs and in business. For the average person in America the mindset is to acquire only one degree and then find a job, but in Dubai it is much different. The higher social echelons deem the more competent citizens in society to have multiple degrees. It is the status quo for more than one degree.

“I sell t-shirts because I’m a creative person,” Ahmed said. “I like owning my business and using my talents in graphic design.”

In Dubai Timmy was surrounded by luxury. Ferraris were common to see on every street corner, however his goal in life is just having a business that he owns, that makes use of his talents.

“If your doing something you love, then that’s all that matters,” Ahmed said.

At his business he has several designs that he made but that is not all his business offers. He offers a very unique product; with the use of his computer and printer, he allows his customers to design their own t-shirt with any design they can imagine.

When talking about making so many transitions and seeing so many cultures he says that depending on the location and community, people can sometimes not be very friendly.

Being in a big city people generally keep to themselves as a rule. Timmy views the tendencies of people keeping to themselves in a big city as odd. He always looks to help strangers whenever he sees that someone needs help. He is sometimes hesitant to act on his will to show kindness to people because they are not used to seeing something like that.

“The way that I was raised is if I saw an elderly person carrying something heavy I would just go and help them,” Ahmed said. “But here people will misunderstand your kindness.”

Timmy thinks that your motivation should bring you to do what you know is right regardless of how someone might treat you.

“I feel that you should always ask if you could help despite how someone might respond,” Ahmed said. “When I look to help, I do it because I want to not because I expect something in return.”

Timmy explained that whatever we may encounter in life, to press forward and adapt to life’s curve ball. He believes that when life give you lemons make lemonade, don’t sell them. To Timmy this world is a dark place and there not many people willing to be a beacon of light to others; in the end we are more similar than we are different.

Timmy talked about a time where he was about to enter his car when he noticed a woman in need of help but no one was around. He simply took time to ask the woman if she needed help. He carried her bags for her a couple of blocks until she reached her destination. Timmy explains that here in the U.S. that it is not a common attribute among this generation.

“Where I come from {Middle East} we are raised to treat everyone the same despite what they look like,” Ahmed said. “The faith they associate themselves with, or who their group of friends are should not matter. In the end every person deserves respect.”

For more features, read the May 2 article, Year-end convocation unifies school, instills memories (VIDEO).

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