Ahmed Alwan wants to inspire kids to stay in school, and the Bronx bodega worker has come up with a great way to reach those kids: viral TikTok challenges. Alwan, whose father has owned the Crotona Park store for more than a decade, films himself shouting out math problems (think 10x10-50) to customers. If they answer correctly, they get five seconds to grab whatever they want from the store, free. You can see some of the challenges on Instagram, including one where Alwan clarifies a customer cannot grab the bodega cat, one featuring a youngster who asks to "be in your TikTok math games," one in which a forward thinker uses his five seconds to nab a bunch of lottery scratch-offs, and one in which a journalist reporting on the story asks for $100 from the cash register after nailing her challenge.
Alwan, who knows all his customers at the Lucky Candy bodega by name, was trying to come up with a way to help people. "I said, ‘let me entertain people and help people at the same time,’ because I see a lot of homeless people in the streets and the train," the 20-year-old tells News 12. His efforts have gotten him more than 300,000 followers on TikTok so far. As for whether his dad is down with the math challenges, Alwan tells Fox 5 NY, "“My dad isn't really worried. It’s coming out of my paycheck. But he says, yeah, just do your thing." (Read more uplifting news stories.)