He gifted bike to former child refugee. 24 years later, Twitter helped her find him
Mevan Babakar, 29, lived in a refugee camp with her parents in the Netherlands in the 1990s, after fleeing Iraq during the first Gulf war.Updated: Aug 15, 2019 11:16 IST
All she wanted was to thank the man who gifted her a bike 24 years ago, but only problem was that she had to find the man before she could express her gratitude. So, she asked for Twitter’s help and, thankfully, people answered the call.
Mevan Babakar, 29, lived in a refugee camp with her parents in the Netherlands in the 1990s, after fleeing Iraq during the first Gulf war, reports Metro. It’s during her stay at the camp, an aid worker gifted her a bicycle.
Babakar, who is now staying in London, recently embarked on a journey to retrace her family’s steps, reports Metro. So, when she found herself in Zwolle, Netherlands – the refugee camp where she was staying as a kid – she wanted to track down the man who almost two decades earlier made her “five year old heart explode with joy.”
“Hi internet, this is a longshot BUT I was a refugee for 5 yrs in the 90s and this man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike,” Babakar tweeted along with the picture of the man and asked for people’s help. “I just want to know his name. Help?” she further added.
Hi internet, this is a longshot BUT I was a refugee for 5 yrs in the 90s and this man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike. My five year old heart exploded with joy. I just want to know his name. Help? pic.twitter.com/XzUgHzllYb— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 12, 2019
Twitter obliged, and it took a day for people to find the man. “WE FOUND HIM!!” Babakar excitedly wrote in another tweet. Further adding that it took 3000 RTs, 3 news articles, 1 video and thousands of wonderful messages from around the world” to find the man.
WE FOUND HIM!! A thread 👇👇— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 13, 2019
After 3000 RTs, 3 news articles, 1 video and thousands of wonderful messages from around the world, @Arjen78 made contact with the family!
Guys, I knew the internet was great but this is something else. https://t.co/H4qmL1uVqQ
Later, in a series of tweets she informed that other refuges too reached out to her to tell that for many the man – Egbert – and his wife were not “friends but family.” Babakar also shared images with Egbert, after meeting him.
Not only did I find him, but I've also had other refugees reach out to me and tell me that him and his wife helped them too! Their kindness has touched so many lives. One woman said "they weren't friends to me, they were family"https://t.co/xMFJiiwktp— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 13, 2019
This is Egbert. He's been helping refugees since the 90s. He was so happy to see me. He was proud that I'd become a strong and brave woman. He said that was his wish for me when I was small. He grows orchids. He has a beautiful family. He said it felt like I'd never left. pic.twitter.com/WlDWm2seVh— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 13, 2019
He thought the bike was too small a gesture to make such a big fuss about but he's really glad that it was the key to bringing us together again.— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 13, 2019
He says he doesn't smile in photos so we took a serious one together instead. pic.twitter.com/8UoaqLf1nI
Besides a rush of support from around the world, people were also overwhelmed by this heartening story. Here’s how they reacted:
This has been one of the best days I n Social media. Thank you Mevan for including us in this beautiful adventure. Everyone is awesome. pic.twitter.com/zgbgkB7h8X— Iskailow.♠ (@Iskailow1) August 13, 2019
Bless you and him. World need people like him. I wish both of you happy and healthy life. Sending hugs. pic.twitter.com/Zgd790kXZK— Lady Lemore (@ElissaMartell) August 13, 2019
This is so sweet. pic.twitter.com/E8obBK2gt8— Vane ヴァネッサ (@VaneAishiteru) August 14, 2019
This is really SO beautiful. 🙏 Thank You for sharing.— Laura & Lucy ⚖️🐶 (@LucyLewis37) August 14, 2019
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this story would resonate so strongly across the world. I’m completely honoured and humbled by the response,” Babakar told Metro. “How we treat each other is everything, big actions or small. At the end of the day, it’s the measure of us all,” she added.
What do you think of this reunion?
First Published: Aug 15, 2019 11:06 IST