Viral video captures bus operator serenading customer on her birthday

Viral video captures bus operator serenading customer on her birthday

Portrait of bus operator Mohammed Ali

In a popular video shared to Twitter, bus operator Mohammed Ali showed off his vocal skills when he serenaded a customer with a special song for her birthday.

“It was a sunny day,” recalls Mohammed, who was driving route 100 from Marine Drive Station towards 22nd Street Station. “It was also a quiet morning and there weren’t many customers on the bus that day.”

A young couple holding a box of sweets eventually boarded the bus.

“I made eye contact with the couple and commented on the box of sweets as they boarded, to which the woman offered me some,” says Mohammed. “They were laddoos, a popular Indian sweet and one of my favourites so I took one.”

As the woman continued to the back of the bus, Mohammed asked the man, who remained near the front of the bus, what occasion they were celebrating and found out it was the woman’s birthday.

Later, while the bus was pulled over at 22nd Street Station to allow all passengers to disembark, the same couple returned to the front of the bus and offered Mohammed some more sweets. Since it was a special occasion, Mohammed offered to sing in exchange.

“I’ve always been an energetic person — although my wife might say I have too much energy — but I think that’s why I felt inspired to sing that day,” he says.

As he sang the chorus of a popular Hindi birthday song to the customer, her boyfriend captured the moment on video before sharing it on Twi​tter. It wasn’t long before the video caught on and started gaining views.​​

​“When I pulled the bus into the depot at the end of my shift, lots of people had already seen what happened on Twitter. Even other operators and staff, and eventually my family and friends in other countries, were messaging me lots of great things about the video,” says Mohammed, who is Muslim and grew up in Fiji before he came to Canada at the age of seven. He can speak – and sing – in multiple different languages, including Hindi, Urdu, and English, and he can read Arabic.

While Mohammed isn’t a professional singer, he does have a lot of experience singing and emceeing at weddings and community events, such as the Muslim Food Bank in Surrey, where Mohammed volunteers a lot of his time.

Along with singing, Mohammed has also added acting to his performing arts skills. Although he had never acted before, Mohammed recently finished his first acting role in a yet-to-be-released Netflix series after his nephew, who was working on the production, encouraged him to audition.

“It’s sort of like this Twitter video,” says Mohammed. “I took a chance on doing something small, and it became a big, positive, and exciting experience that hopefully made someone smile.”