Newborn Kifah arrives - in a cab

Mr Hamid, his wife del Rosario Ortiz and baby Kifah being given a free ride home in Mr Mohamad's SMRT cab yesterday, courtesy of the company. On Monday, she gave birth to Kifah in the same taxi while on the way to hospital.
Mr Hamid, his wife del Rosario Ortiz and baby Kifah being given a free ride home in Mr Mohamad's SMRT cab yesterday, courtesy of the company. On Monday, she gave birth to Kifah in the same taxi while on the way to hospital.PHOTO: SMRT/FACEBOOK

SMRT taxi driver Mohamad Nazraruddin, 38, was in for a surprise when he picked up his first passengers of the day in Woodlands on Monday morning.

Entering his taxi were a heavily pregnant Maria Elena del Rosario Ortiz, 38, and her husband Hamid El-Hajami, 51, a translator at the Saudi Arabian Embassy.

Madam del Rosario Ortiz, a Filipino housewife, wanted to go to National University Hospital, but her baby girl, who was born at 12.45pm, could not wait.

Mr Hamid, who is Moroccan, told The Straits Times: "She pushed and the baby slid out. I extended my hand and held the baby. I felt like the most lucky guy in the world."

The couple, who have a son who is one, named their newborn Kifah. Madam del Rosario Ortiz said: "We are thankful to him (Mr Mohamad). It was an unforgettable experience."

Mr Mohamad, who witnessed the birth of his two children aged six and 11, drove them to the nearest hospital - Mount Alvernia - in Thomson, where mother and daughter were attended to. He waived the taxi fare of about $16.

Yesterday, he visited them in the hospital and later also gave them a free ride home, courtesy of SMRT. The firm said in a post on its Facebook page yesterday it would waive Mr Mohamad's one-day rental of around $125. It also gave the couple a hamper and a $300 taxi voucher.

Mr Mohamad said: "Hopefully we will still keep in touch. They live near me - maybe one day we can meet up for dinner."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Newborn Kifah arrives - in a cab'. Print Edition | Subscribe