Dad who lost job in pandemic ‘considered dealing cannabis’ to feed family
A dad has spoken out after he became so desperate to feed his family earlier in the pandemic he briefly considered selling cannabis.
Mohammed Haroon says he was left with just £300 to survive after being laid off from his security job at the start of the first UK lockdown in April.
The bombshell came just hours before his excited wife revealed she was pregnant with their second child.
With few options the 27-year-old from Birmingham said he briefly considered buying a block of cannabis to sell on the street with his remaining cash.
But the law-abiding dad said he instead opted to plough every last penny he had into a dessert service called Zay Zays – which is now booming.
Yet in a frank interview he admitted he had considered low-level drug dealing as he felt under pressure to make cash quickly.
The dad said: “The day I got sacked, my Mrs was all excited telling me she’s pregnant with another baby.
“How was I supposed to tell her I’d just lost my job? I had to hide it from her for a day or two.
“Then I sat with her and cried my eyes out saying: ‘I try so hard to make ends meet and it never works out’.
“I explained to her that I’m stuck now and I haven’t got any money left.
“She just said it’s all right, don’t worry I’ll support you, like she does.
“But being the man of the house, I didn’t want to rely on my wife.
“I had two choices, go out there buy a bricky and start selling drugs or use my last bit of money and put it all into Zay Zays.”
Mohammed received his final wage which covered April’s bills, but the couple were left with only his wife’s NHS job to support the family.
“I’ve had a lot of friends that used to [deal drugs], I’ve seen them get into trouble, get into problems with the police – or other people,” he added.
“I sat there and I thought to myself, I have got a child and another one on the way. So if I do make this choice I have got to be ready for the sacrifices.
“So if I do get taken away from them for a long time, or something happens, who is going to provide for my family really?”
Yet Mohammed quickly decided to invest the £300 he had left into buying ingredients to launch a takeaway service selling desserts from home.
Within less than a week of losing his job, Zay Zays – named after his one-year-old son – was up and running on Instagram.
He added: “My mum and dad were saying: ‘It is a risk Haroon, just look for a job’.
“But because of the virus everyone was getting laid off so you couldn’t get jobs.”
While getting the business off the ground was no easy feat, he made more than the £1,500-a-month he used to earn within the first month.
“I remember having 60 followers [on Instagram] running up and down Birmingham to make a sale just to get it up and running as I never had no money left to pay the rent.
“We struggled for a while. I didn’t buy much stock at first, because I thought I’d see how it goes.
“But then within a week I had to quickly go back and restock again, because I was running out of ingredients.”
He approached and delivered desserts to several influencers and rappers across Birmingham after reaching out to them via Instagram.
“I used to sit on my Instagram the whole night, direct messaging everybody,” he recalled.
“The first person I messaged was Ginge from Shard End.
“I asked if I could bring him some desserts and said: ‘If you like them just put them on social media’, because nowadays social media is the new way forward.
“He ate them, put them up, and I got a few celebrities, RM, Mowgli, Scarcity Studios. Through there, we just blew and we weren’t expecting it.
“Honestly if it wasn’t for the people that helped me out in the area, I wouldn’t be able to do this.
“That’s why I’m grateful for all my followers and everyone on Instagram for putting me where I am.”.