A surprise for Kirkcaldy shop’s loyal customer

Shopowner Asif Akhtar, Dick and Janet Sneddon and Abada Akhtar at Smeaton Stores (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Shopowner Asif Akhtar, Dick and Janet Sneddon and Abada Akhtar at Smeaton Stores (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)

Two kind-hearted shop owners in Kirkcaldy gave a generous Christmas gift to one of their loyal customers.

Asif and Abada Akhtar, who own Smeaton Stores on Chestnut Avenue bought an electric wheelchair to help out Janet Sneddon (65) and husband Richard (73), better known as Dick, who live at nearby Holly Place.

Dick was a daily visitor to the shop until he began to suffer from a series of illnesses in 2013; throat cancer and a double leg amputation have now left him wheelchair-bound.

Janet said: “He’s been in and out of hospital over the last few years and lost his right leg in March.

“So of course he’s not been able to get out of the house as much as he had before, unless I was taking him.”

Two years ago Janet herself was in hospital having on operation on her back so is limited in the amount of help she can give to her husband, but in her spare time she helps out at the shop.

“I help control all the schoolkids at lunchtimes that come down from Kirkcaldy High, so have become good friends with Asif and Abada.

“Dick was always going there too. There was a group of them that would be there at 6am every day waiting for the papers, so when Asif arrived they would help him to open up the shop.”

To make life easier, the couple had looked at getting an electric wheelchair.

Janet said: “They were out of our price range so we thought we would just have to put up with it.

“Just before Christmas Asif and Abada said that had seen one and why didn’t I take Dick along, just to see what it was like.”

Unknown to them, the visit was to make sure the wheelchair complied to Dick’s measurements.

Janet said: “They asked us to come around on Christmas Eve, saying that their kids had presents for us.

‘‘We went round to the shop and there was a brand new wheelchair. It was fantastic.

‘‘Dick is a lot more independent, and can go out when he wants. He’s been through such a lot but he’s so much happier now.

“It was incredibly generous of Asif and Abada. I want to thank them for what they’ve done for us.”

Asif said: “I’ve known Dick since I started here about 15 years ago.

“We knew they were looking for an electric wheelchair, so when the opportunity for one came along it was too good to miss.

“It was coming up to Christmas so we got them it and now it’s like the good old days. Dick’s out there at 6am every morning waiting for me!

“We were just happy we could help them out. The money didn’t come into it.

“Just seeing Dick with a smile on his face again is priceless.”