Months after bringing "Dubai to Philly," in an extravagant celebration for her son’s prom, a North Philly restaurant owner held another big party in her neighborhood which featured hundreds of Christmas gifts, two reindeer, a “Frozen” ice sculpture and smiles everywhere.
“I know what hard time is,” Saudia Shuler told the crowd of hundreds who gathered along N. 22nd Street Wednesday night. “Because I come from hard times.”
The event was held at ‘Country Cookin',’ the North Philly restaurant that Shuler owns. She put her role as a business owner aside for the night however and became ‘Saudia Claus,’ handing out hundreds of gifts to excited children.
“We gave them 140 bikes,” she said. “We gave out over 50 scooters. We gave out ‘Batman’ cars, like the remote-controlled cars you put your feet on and then drive.”
Shuler is no stranger to huge parties. Earlier this year, she made headlines when she spent $25,000 on a camel, three tons of sand and exotic cars for a massive event in her neighborhood celebrating her son’s prom. After dealing with tragedies, including the murder of her son's father, as well as multiple health scares over the past decade, Shuler says she has good reason to celebrate.
“I had a stroke. I had seizures. I had cancer,” she said. “All within the last three years.”
Shuler says she was able to overcome her obstacles with the support of her community which is why she’s giving back.
“I wanted the kids to see something beautiful in our neighborhood,” she said. “Because we have to go to other places to see pretty stuff so I wanted them to know that all this is real.”
Shuler also isn’t finished. She’s planning on holding more Christmas events over the weekend. As for where all the money is coming from, Shuler says she’s received donations from all over the country.
It was not immediately clear if Shuler has a defense attorney.