As Americans heads off to Thanksgiving gatherings, I wanted to share this story of “thanks” that touched me yesterday, both personally and professionally.
Yesterday, I met Mr. Alshammari, a 25 year old Iraqi who gave me a ride through Uber, his second job. He was 10 yrs old when the war broke out in Iraq and his family hid from ethnic conflict for 5 years – literally coming home under the cover of darkness for years. His brother became an interpreter for the US Marines and this helped him and two of his brothers get green cards to come to the US. His brother is now about to become a US citizen and will soon be able to bring his parents to the US.
Alshammari radiated excitement and hope about the prospect of reuniting with his parents after not seeing them for 5 years. He also glowed about his love for his new life in the US because, he said, “you get to have your own voice here”, and explained “that’s why I pierced my ears and wear a gold chain, even if people call me names”.
Alshammari made my day and made me so thankful for the family that I have near and far, but always within reach. His story is so relevant to so many discussions the world is having now. And it embodies the very essence of my work around the world, and what motivates me each day, helping people find their voice and investing in their lives and families.
I take personal joy in watching how love can conquer geography. Let’s celebrate the day Alshammari meets his parents again.
Happy Thanksgiving and happy gatherings!!