ABU DHABI 19 February 2021: A surprise reunion of five UAE residents with their loved ones tugged at heartstrings and brought happy tears, courtesy of Etisalat.
At the heart of Etisalat’s brand act ‘Bringing your loved ones to you’ is the joy and family togetherness amidst these unprecedented times. Inspired by its core belief ‘Together Matters’, Etisalat made their dreams come true after years of separation further exacerbated by the pandemic.
It all began with a competition on Facebook back in November 2020, when Etisalat asked people whom they miss the most and tag them for a chance to win the latest 5G smartphone for a loved one.
Five lucky winners were invited to the studio where they would video call their loved ones. Little did they know Etisalat took it a step further by flying their loved ones to the UAE two days before the shoot.
Etisalat not only helped connect them via a video call but also hatched a surprise reunion at the studio, a week-long hotel stay, and a fun and thrill-filled day out at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Covid-19 precautions and safety standards were observed the entire time.
At a time when being reunited with loved ones is needed the most, Etisalat showed how much ‘together really matters’.
Marie Cristina Domingo, 46, a Filipina office administrator in Dubai, and her husband Anthony tagged their 21-year-old daughter Maria Erin, a university student in Laguna whom they had not seen for more than two years. They had no plans of flying home anytime soon due to the COVID-19 situation but were looking forward to spending their first holiday with their granddaughter Amari.
“We are very happy with Etisalat and would like to congratulate all the winners,” said Maria Cristina. “This wouldn’t have been possible without Etisalat of course,” Anthony chimed in.
Sales attendant at a petrol station
Krishna Shrestha, 35, a sales attendant at a petrol station in Ajman, joined Etisalat’s competition in the hope of winning a smartphone for his wife and making their wedding anniversary extra special. Unknown to him, Rina and her brother Aakash arrived at Dubai airport from Nepal two days prior to the surprise reunion. Krishna was in complete disbelief when he saw his wife Rina emerge from a sliding panel following a short video call in the studio. “I’ve not seen her for almost one and a half years,” he said. “I’m so happy.”
Henna Bhojwani, 47, a homemaker in Dubai, tagged her brother Rajesh Lalwani, a 43-year-old overseas recruitment consultant in India when she entered the competition. “It’s all because of you that I won this prize,” said Rajesh, who flew in from Delhi along with his wife Sneha.
“Oh my God!” Henna shrieked in surprise as the siblings embraced with hugs and tears after more than a year and a half apart. “For me, everything has been so overwhelming, so emotional, I just don’t know how to thank Etisalat,” she said.
Hala Hassan, a 24-year-old homemaker in Abu Dhabi, nominated her sister Reham to win the smartphone. To her surprise, Etisalat had flown in Reham, a 31-year-old teacher in Egypt, along with their 65-year-old mother Sameeha Salem Ali. “I hadn’t seen my mother and sister for over a year,” Hala said. It was an intensely emotional and heartwarming family reunion after such a long time of them being apart, especially since Reham got married during that time and Hala couldn’t attend her wedding in these difficult times.
Carmela dela Cruz, a 27-year-old nanny in Sharjah, cannot wait to be reunited with her family in the Philippines. She had won a smartphone for her 54-year-old father Crisanto who was unable to fly to Dubai. Because ‘Together Matters’, Etisalat took it up a notch by surprising Carmela with an airline ticket so she could hand over the phone to her father in May.
“Etisalat, thank you so much for everything,” Carmela said, trying to smile through her tears after a video call with her parents and cousin. “This is so big. My family will be happy because I’m going home. I can’t imagine this is happening to me now. I’m so excited because I had not seen my family for almost two years.”