Most people celebrate their birthdays by getting their friends together for a meal, or throwing a party complete with cake and presents.
But a nurse decided to mark her birthday in a different way - by buying food and drinks for strangers instead.
Anne, who turned 33 on Monday, came to Singapore from the Philippines seven years ago.
For her special day, she took leave from the hospital where she works and gave away food and drinks to buskers, tissue-paper sellers and foreign workers, evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.
Anne's heartwarming deed came to light when a Wanbao reporter spotted her giving out packets of chicken rice at Yishun MRT Station on Monday.
Speaking to the Chinese daily, Anne said: "Singapore has given me countless opportunities and taught me so much, so I want to give back."
She gave out 12 packets of chicken rice at three MRT stations: Yishun, Novena and Toa Payoh.
She said: "I always rush through the MRT station and seldom slow down to care about these people. So I'm buying chicken rice as a treat for them and to celebrate my birthday together."
Anne was accompanied by her friend, Gretel, who had also taken leave for the occasion and gave a thumbs up for Anne's unusual birthday celebration.
They were out between noon and 5pm, first giving out rice at train stations and then distributing soft drinks to foreign workers in Clarke Quay.
One of those who received a free rice packet was 83-year-old tissue-paper peddler Eddie, who has been plying his trade at Yishun MRT Station for six years.
It was his first time receiving chicken rice from a stranger, he said. When he first took the packet from Anne, he was incredulous but broke into a smile when he heard her story.
Said Eddie: "The people at the train station come and go. The fact that Anne can slow down and show her concern makes me feel very thankful."
Another tissue-paper seller, 43-year-old Xie Chuncheng, ate the rice happily and said: "I don't know why, but this packet of chicken rice tastes especially nice."
The packets that Anne bought cost $4 each, even though a nearby stall was selling chicken rice for $2.50 per packet.
When asked why she had bought the more expensive option, Anne said: "Because I like this stall's chicken rice. If I give what I like to others, it's more sincere. I hope it will touch their hearts."
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