For six years, Pakistani resident Muhammad Khurram has spent hours each day navigating traffic on Dubai’s roads as a delivery rider.
In March, however, he received an early morning phone call that he said "changed my life".
The father-of-two was one of thousands of Deliveroo riders around the world to receive a Dh50,000 ($13,612) bonus as part of the Amazon-backed British food delivery start-up's "Thank You Fund".
This coincided with Deliveroo's stock market flotation.
Earning Dh4,500 a month, Mr Khurram said the financial windfall has secured a better future for his family.
"When I first received the call I didn't know it was coming. I was really surprised – just shocked," he told The National.
“Then I got a second call to confirm it. When I realised it was true I was so excited and told my family back home in Pakistan.
"Some of my colleagues, they were so happy for me, and some – at first – were jealous.
“I have never been a rich person. Now I am a rich person.”
Working in Dubai for seven years, including a year in the restaurant industry, Mr Khurram, 35, can now fulfil his dream of starting his own business back home.
Within the next few years, he plans to return to Karachi in southern Pakistan to open a cafe and be closer to his family.
His colleague, Muhammed Zeeshan Ali, 35, said he is still digesting the news, more than a month after finding out about the bonus.
“When I got the phone call the woman told me that I would get a Dh50,000 bonus. At first, I didn’t believe it,” he said.
“It was a big surprise and a big amount of money, so I just forgot about it and didn’t tell anyone.
“After a few days, I got an email from the corporate office and that’s when I knew it was real.
“It is a huge amount of money. It is one year's salary and it would take me three years to save this amount, so it will totally change my life.”
Mr Ali has a daughter, 3, and a son, 1, in Lahore, in north-east Pakistan,
He said within the next few months he will bring his family to the UAE on an extended visit visa.
The long-term goal is to start a business back home and return permanently within a few years.
“My father used to run a rice business so I could do that, or maybe invest in an auto spare parts business,” he said.
“It feels good to receive a thank you bonus after working with the company for five years and actually, this is the first bonus I ever got in my life.”
The two are among several riders in the UAE to receive the top payment of £10,000 under the Thank You Fund of £16 million (Dh80m), which was announced in conjunction with Deliveroo's £8 billion (Dh40bn) stock market listing earlier this year.
The £10,000 (Dh50,000) payment is made to those riders who have completed the highest number of orders in each market.
There are also riders who will receive payments of £1,000 (Dh5,000) and £500 (Dh2,500).
All riders who have worked with Deliveroo for at least one year and completed 2,000 orders will receive £200 (Dh1,000), the company said when it announced the scheme.
Deliveroo, which has more than 110,000 delivery riders across its operating markets, including the UAE and Kuwait, said it expected about 36,000 riders in total to benefit from the payments.
Both Mr Khurram and Mr Ali are employed by a third-party rider agency in the UAE that loans riders to Deliveroo.
The duo will receive their first batch of payment from the food delivery company this month.
The bonus will be paid in equal instalments of about Dh8,000 over the next six months until the full Dh50,000 has been distributed.