UAE spreads happiness with prisoner release, free taxi and bus rides

Travellers at Dubai airport get happiness stamps on passports on International Day of Happiness

Dubai: Travellers and residents in Dubai were greeted with smileys and 11 prisoners won their freedom in Sharjah on Tuesday as the UAE marked the International Day of Happiness.

At the Dubai Airport terminals, travellers got happiness stamps on their passports that had a smiley and a message that read: “Welcome to Happy UAE.”

Officers of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) at the airport welcomed people with a welcome smile and posed for pictures with them.

According to GDRFA Dubai, travellers expressed their happiness at the gesture when they saw the smiley face on their passports.

The GDRA’s gesture of happiness was not confined to the travellers as they also welcomed employees with a smiley.

The GDRFA Dubai’s employees, who usually use the fingerprint scanners to log in and out, had a note on the scanners saying ‘Your smile is your fingerprint’.

On Tuesday, they were exempted from the fingerprint scan to mark the Happiness Day in a gesture to spread happiness and positivity.

Around 5,000 employees of GDRFA Dubai also received a surprise video message of happiness from Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, director-general of GDRFA, on their computers.

Free taxi rides

As the travellers came out of the airport terminals, the lucky 100 of them got free taxi rides from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Meanwhile, the message of happiness travelled across the city on Tuesday as the RTA welcomed commuters at metro stations and buses with a range of gifts including happiness badges, balloons and stress balls.

Celebrating the International Day of Happiness and the Happiness Week, the RTA on Tuesday launched a series of activities which included surprise gifts to commuters, free Happiness Bus rides from several metro stations including Mall of the Emirates, BurJuman, Union Square, Al Ras, Al Rashidiya, The Dubai Mall, JLT and Al Jafiliya.

The buses embarked on their journeys from 8am to 4.30pm from different locations to various destinations such as Hatta Dam, Dubai Parks and Resorts, La Mer and Global Village.

Appreciating the efforts of its employees, the RTA distributed “Hello” cards and free lunch meals to 2,500 bus drivers at Al Aweer Bus Depot.

As it continues to mark the Happiness Week, the RTA will distribute vouchers to 600 parking inspectors at the Customer Service Centre at Umm Al Ramool.

Metro spreads smiles

Speaking to Gulf News, a Nigerian security officer, who is a regular metro commuter, said: “This is a great country and I am so happy to have found work here. I love using the metro daily to and from work, it’s a lifeline for me.”

Another metro user Cesare Angelo said he has been working in Dubai for two years and haven’t been happier in life.

“From the time I came to Dubai two years ago, I have been using the metro and it is so convenient, one of the reasons why I find life so easy here,” said Angelo, who works as a waiter.

Prisoner release

Meanwhile, Sharjah Police released 11 prisoners who were jailed for defaulting on their debts, to mark the International Day of Happiness.

According to Sharjah Police, the pending debts of the prisoners were settled by Ayadi Committee and Sharjah Charity Association.

The prisoners, who belonged to different nationalities, thanked Sharjah Police for their gesture, which enabled them to restart their normal life.

They also praised the role of police in supporting and protecting their families, while they were behind the bars and helped them to overcome the difficulties they encountered during their incarceration.

Free transport

In Ras Al Khaimah, RAK Transport Authority offered free public transport within the emirate to neighbourhoods such as Al Jazeera Al Hamra and Dagdaga and RAK Airport.

The RAK Public Works Department also offered a 30 per cent discount on all its fines.

— With inputs from Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter

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