Andre Sandy counting bmobile, Huawei and Barcelona blessings
Port of Spain, Trinidad, April 29, 2017
Thirty-year-old football fan and businessman, Andre Sandy is a changed man. The owner of Brews Bistro in Piarco had a rough start to 2017 that threatened to bury his dreams, but a miraculous encounter that involved bmobile, Huawei, Spain and Lionel Messi has the young entrepreneur singing a happy new tune.
Having spent the majority of their personal savings in 2016 on opening a second branch of his company, Brews Bistro, in South Trinidad, the start of 2017 saw Sandy facing the grim prospects of having to shut down the new location of his brainchild. The struggle to rebound from such a set-back was real, given the mental and financial investments that were slipping through his hands.
Then, one fateful morning in January, Sandy received a call from a bmobile representative inviting him to the company’s Tech Expo at Hyatt Regency on January 21. The morning of the expo was a heavy one. “That day in particular, I was really depressed,” he stated. “We had just taken a decision to close down a new outlet we opened in South. After putting all of our savings, postponing our house down payment and investing into this business, I was deeply hurt.” Despondent about his trials, the young entrepreneur nonetheless opted to take his wife, Crystal Alexander, on the short trip to the Hyatt for the bmobile Tech Expo.
During the Expo, there was a special function to announce the winners of the bmobile / Huawei December 2016 promotion featuring the Huawei P9 and Huawei P9 Lite smartphones which carried Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador. Sandy had entered the promotion but by now, with everything else that had happened, it was the furthest thing on his mind. So when the time came and the grand prize winner was announced, Sandy’s jaw dropped hearing his name blaring through the speakers.
“It was a shock,” he stated with a broad smile. “Personally, I always believed promotional competitions were rigged, but now I have to take that back.” So overwhelmed was the avid Barcelona fan, he couldn’t drive home. His wife had to take the wheel. Sandy had won an all-expenses paid trip for two to Spain to see his dream team Barcelona take on Spanish rivals, Valencia, on home turf at the Camp Nou in mid-March. bmobile and Huawei pulled out all the stops to give the couple a once in a lifetime experience, so the luxurious prize package included access for a free tour of the stadium and a four-night stay at one of the football club’s hottest hotels in the bustling city. Talk about things that make your head spin!
“We flew to Miami, then to Spain, and were picked up in a Mercedes limousine and driven like VIP’s to our hotel. My wife and I had three days before match-day to explore Catalonia and we made the most of it. But, the highlight of our trip was obviously the Barcelona game and victory.”
He reminisced on the atmosphere in the stadium, the explosive and pore-raising chants of over 80,000 fans cheering on their team. “You could have felt the energy taking over. Like in Trinidad, they also had the bands and fans who lead the crowd in chants. Chants like ‘Neymar’, ‘Messi’ and ‘Barca’ erupted all around constantly. To see the likes of these athletes play in front of my eyes was a dream come true. Their ball possession, work ethic and sheer class were incomparable. We never thought something of this magnitude could ever happen to us.”
During their tour of the Camp Nou, the T&T pair learned about the history of the highly successful club and took in Barcelona’s trophy showroom with walls lined with trophies. Following this outing, Sandy and his wife made their way through malls and around the city, catching the sights from the subway and ferryboats. They also went to La Rambla, a popular tourist street destination and Las Arenas, formerly a bull fighting ring now converted to a shopping complex. Sandy was in awe at everything. “The mood of the place, the cosmopolitan crowds; the efficient movement of 80,000 people into and out of the stadium; the pride of people to show off their culture, there was a lot Trinidad and Tobago could emulate.” It all cascaded over him and filled him with immense optimism for the future of his family and business.
“After going on this trip, it was definitely a life changing experience for me as an individual. It was like divine intervention and I feel ready to face any challenge. I have ‘nuff’ respect for bmobile and Huawei, this really was a once in a lifetime gift that could not have come at a better time.”
On his return to the twin-island republic, Sandy brought with him a ‘Thank You’ card and some ‘Barca’ memorabilia in gratitude for the bmobile support team. He is now back at work at his first location in Piarco International Airport, a restored and rejuvenated young businessman.