Goodbye Uncle Bread: Residents thank him as he makes final round in his van

SINGAPORE - After 55 years of running a mobile provision shop, Mr Foo Kee See, 78, fondly known as Uncle Bread made his final round in Serangoon Gardens, Seletar Hills Estate and Kovan on Wednesday (Jan 11).

"I'm old, I have no more energy to work," said Mr Foo. 
 

Along the way, many residents stood outside their homes, waiting for Mr Foo's familiar green van to come by.


Mr Foo Kee See, also known as Uncle Bread, made his final round selling provisions in Serangoon Gardens and Seletar Hills Estate on Jan 11, 2017. ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

Some ran out of their homes to say goodbye after hearing the tooting of the van's horn.


Mr Foo Kee See with two-year-old Ryder Koh during his final round selling provisions in Serangoon Gardens and Seletar Hills Estate on Jan 11, 2017.  ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

They showered him with red packets, gifts and hugs.

His final round of the two estates ended 1½ hours later than usual as his regular customers were waiting eagerly to bid farewell to him. Mr Foo received many hugs, hongbao, bottles of chicken essence, a box of bird’s nest and even clothes.

His customers also helped to buy many of the goods in his van so that he would not have too much stock left over.

"No more chocolate? No more milk?” two-year-old Ryder Koh noted in disappointment when Mr Foo opened the rear door of his van. But Uncle Bread managed to find two packets of Oreo cookies for him.

"Many customers took photos with me. They also gave me red packets, about 10 to 20 in total," said Mr Foo.


A customer says goodbye to Mr Foo Kee See, who made his final round selling provisions in Serangoon Gardens and Seletar Hills Estate on Jan 11, 2017.ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

Mr Foo started selling bread from his van at the age of 23. He later expanded his "bread van" to include other provisions.

"I've been a customer for 30 years," said Ms Lina Yaranon, a domestic helper living in Serangoon Gardens. "Sometimes I buy bread, eggs or whatever. I will miss him." 


Mr Foo Kee See received hugs, hongbao, bottles of chicken essence, a box of bird’s nest and even clothes from his customers during his last day selling provisions on Jan 11, 2017. ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

 

Another domestic worker, Ms Shirley Aquino, said: "I will miss him because I've been buying things from him for so long. Sometimes if we only need things like bread and eggs, we just ask uncle, no need to go NTUC."

Serangoon Gardens resident Pat Norris, who has been a regular customer since 1969, said: "When we first came here, the bread man was here, the satay man was here, the Hokkien mee man was here, the 'ting ting' candy man was here. Now, he's the last one and after this no more."

When asked about his plans after retirement, Mr Foo smiled and said: "I want to go for walks and read the newspapers."