In pics: Turkish gym gives 12-year-old Syrian refugee, gazing through window, free lifetime pass

Updated on Jan 10, 2018 02:58 PM IST
A 12-year-old Syrian refugee was offered a free lifetime gym membership, after a photo of him staring longingly at exercise equipment went viral on social media.
(L) Muhammet Halit looking longingly through the glass walls of the gym; (R) Halit trying out his hand at the equipment.(Mahir Alan)
(L) Muhammet Halit looking longingly through the glass walls of the gym; (R) Halit trying out his hand at the equipment.(Mahir Alan)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Social media is an unusual place. It can be brutal and delightful in equal measure. A Turkish gym won the hearts of several people after it offered a free lifetime membership to a 12-year-old Syrian refugee after his photo went viral.

The photo, clicked by Turkish photo journalist Mahir Alan, shows Muhammet Halit, a shoe-shiner in Adiyaman, looking longingly through the glass walls of the gym. Halit is armed with his shoe-shining equipment and is wearing a pair of slippers, in the thick of winter.

This photo of 12-year-old Muhammet Halit looking longingly at gym equipment went viral. (Mahir Alan)
This photo of 12-year-old Muhammet Halit looking longingly at gym equipment went viral. (Mahir Alan)

“A boy, looking through the gym window, wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his backpack. Our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here. And, we did it. He is one of our members now,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Engin Dogan, the gym co-owner, as saying.

Halit fled the brutal war in Syria four years ago and has been working as a shoe-shiner ever since. He lives with his father who makes a living by collecting scrap. Halit was thrilled with media attention and said, “I had always dreamed of losing weight and now I believe I can do that by working out,” said the boy.

Here are pictures of Halit working out in the Olympic Sports Center. All images have been used with the permission of Mahir Alan.

Muhammet Halit trying out machines at the gym. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit trying out machines at the gym. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit tries his hand on the gym equipment. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit tries his hand on the gym equipment. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit with the gym co-owner Engin Dogan. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit with the gym co-owner Engin Dogan. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit exercises while Engin Dogan looks on. (Mahir Alin)
Muhammet Halit exercises while Engin Dogan looks on. (Mahir Alin)
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