5 years ago, while I was working in my uncle’s hotel in Aleppo, we had an Australian guest called David come to stay. One day, he broke his leg when he fell on the street. As a result, I went to the hospital and later, I brought him back to the hotel and took care of him while he recovered. We chatted a lot – he was a very nice man, in his early 70s. And in the end, he offered me some money as a reward for taking care of him, but I refused, which he really appreciated. We exchanged email addresses, and he went back to Australia.
After a while, I sent him an email asking him how he was feeling. He wrote back, and soon, we were writing every day. It was a good way for me to practice my English! Then, one day, he suggested I come to Australia for a visit. At that time, things were just starting to change in Syria, and the hotel was getting quieter, so I thought, ‘OK, why not, I’ll give it a try.’ I went to the embassy in Jordan to lodge my application, but a month later I was told I didn’t meet the requirements for a visa. So I thought, ‘OK, no problem. I’ll stay in my country.’ But when I told David that I couldn’t come, he said he would stop in Jordan on his way back from England that year, and go to see the ambassador with me. So a few months later, I crossed the border again. This time, it wasn’t easy. Aleppo wasn’t experiencing any problems, but in the South, I saw what was going on, and it was really bad.
When I got to Jordan, David and I went for lunch. He told me that he lived alone, that he was a little bit lonely, and that he wanted to show me Australia as a way to repay me for taking care of him. Then we went to the embassy. David told the ambassador he was a senior lawyer at the Mental Health tribunal in Australia, and the story of how we met, and this time, my visa was approved!
We flew together to Australia, where he showed me Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and introduced me to his sister, who was married but didn’t have any children. They both treated me just like a son. Then, just a few days before I was due to leave, my flight was cancelled because the Aleppo airport had been closed down. As a result, I was stuck in Australia. I couldn’t believe it. It had never been my intention to stay. But we went to a migration lawyer, who told me I could apply for a protection visa. David paid all the fees for me, which I was very grateful for.
After that, David and I lived together like family. Everywhere we went, we went together. He helped me find my first job washing dishes, and later on I worked as a chef. Three years later, I met my girlfriend, but I still didn’t leave him – I went to her house at night but during the day I would stay with him, because I felt it would be unfair to leave. He had done so much for me. He even took me to see my family in Turkey because he knew I missed them. And all he wanted in return was company.
David said he really wanted me to have a good career, and suggested that because I was a caring person, I should study Nursing. But I said I would just do a Certificate in Aged Care to start with. I had the idea that it would help me to take care of him when he got older.
Then, last year, he got pneumonia. Whenever he went to hospital, I went with him – even when I had to work, I would take time off to be with him. One day, he had a blood transfusion in the afternoon, and after we went home, he said he was tired and wanted to sleep. I went to see my girlfriend, but a few hours later, he called, and said, ‘Can you make sure I see you before I go to sleep tonight?’ I said, ‘OK’, but by the time I got back, he was already asleep, and I didn’t want to wake him. Then, when I got up in the morning, it looked like he was still sleeping, so I left the house to go to school, but by 8:30, when he still hadn’t texted me, I said to myself, ‘Something is not right’. So I went back to the house, and tried to wake him up. Then, I knew he had passed away.
For me it was a huge loss. My father died of a heart attack when I was 5, so I looked at David as a father. And David never had a child. He used to say, ‘If I had a child, I would want him to be like Ahmad’.
It’s been a year now since I lost him. His sister and I still meet for dinner twice a week, and I’m renting David’s apartment from her. I don’t want to change anything there, not even the sheets. And I’m now working in a nursing home, where I look after the residents very, very well, because for me, all the residents are David.
Next year, I plan to study Nursing.
I know my story is unbelievable. But I believe in one thing – if you do something good in your life, it will come back to you, maybe not straight away, but it will come.
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I’m so glad you were there to care for this man and that you continue to care for old people. Most find it a burden. You are a kind soul. Bless you ????❤️
What a beautiful story. If only more Australians would read such positive experiences about the contributions of refugees! All the best Ahmed for your life in Australia!
Dear Ahmad, an inspiring story, and I think I know your David whom I met on an archaeological excavation in Pella, Jordan, and enjoyed many red wines and interesting conversations with. DM me and we can share information if you wish.
Oh Ahmad, what a story you have. Im so sorry for the loss of your dear David. I bet this leaves a huge gap in your heart. It is wonderful you still have a relationship with his sister, but I’m sorry you had to leave your country because it was not safe. You have done an amazing job furthering yourself personally and with your studies. I hope that you hold David in your heart forever and know he will be looking down on you so proud , so keep up all your good work even when it seems hard sometimes. You deserve great happiness and success. The kindness you showed David is a beautiful quality to have
Oh Ahmad, you are a typical Middle Easterner. Kind, warm hearted and caring. And how lucky that you got to meet David. ALSO RIP David! What a legend you were!
Oh how lovely you are. I wish you a long life filled with friends, family and happiness. You are truly inspirational and we are lucky to have you in our country. X
This has melted my heart. Bless you Ahmad, and your precious friend David. What beautiful men.
That is so beautiful. There is an Arabic man delivering meals in the hospital where my dad was (a ward of older people waiting for nursing home placement) his English was broken and he struggled sometimes but his manners – impeccable. And the gentle and polite way he treated the older people always made me tear up because it was genuine and so beautiful a thing to see. And for people like that, I don’t care how you came here I’m just glad you’re here 🙂
How lucky Australia is to now have you in its health system as a carer and future nurse. It sounds like you and David were meant to meet! I am glad you had each other for company and to better both your lives.
My grandfather was in a nursing home, my grandmother was in a nursing home, now my father in law is in a nursing home. I hope that they (and all nursing home residents) have carers as nice as Ahmed
Such a beautiful story, the elderly people you care for are so lucky to have you as their carer and Australia is so lucky to have you.
What a beautiful story of two beautiful men, may your life be as lovely as it can be, what joy you gave to your patron in his last years!
Ahmad, you are a decent, caring person – the kind we need so many more of in Australia. All the best to you and your girlfriend, and I hope your family is safe.
I just spent 20 mins of my life reading these stories. 20 mins of inspiration. I’ve felt like lately I’m failing at being an entrepreneur yet now I read this and what I experience is nothing compared to the sheer human will and determination of these inspiring souls. Thank you for sharing their stories. It’s personally changed my life today and I’ll keep these stories these people in my heart as we all gather together to ensure refugees are welcomed into our country… Bless you xx
Not so unbelievable because I am lucky enough to say I have known you both. A lovely tribute to a wonderful man. We all miss him. But you are still making him proud.
Well now I am crying….. Its very cleansing to have a good sob. Saint David and his beloved Ahmad. Your father and him are smiling from Heaven still. We never know when we’re in the company of Angels. Prayers there are many more stories like yours Ahmad. God bless.
This country is not so big.
I have worked out who your benefactor was, he was a very easy man to love, I am so pleased he supported you and you supported him.
May my sons be as loving and caring as you Ahmad. Sorry for your many losses and happy you are safe and well and thank you for your service to the elderly, who will be thriving with your care. It was a bitter sweet delight to read your story.
Thanks for sharing your story and for making your time in Australia a chance to better yourself and give to our country too… Especially to the elderly who need more honesty, respect and loyalty as you have shown.
Thank you Ahmad, for being such a caring, considerate man. We are so lucky you ended up in Australia. I met a beautiful, gentle man who brought his family here from Afghanistan. I only ever thought how I wish he could make more Australians more beautiful, gentle and understanding. We are so fortunate to have such lovely people in our community and our country.
This is a lovely story. A few years ago we also gave a young woman from Burma the chance to study in elderly care. The love and care that she shows to her clients is an example to all. We, in the west, need to follow their example and regain the respect for
older people which seems to have been lost in the me culture of today.
Oh Ahmad thank you so very much
for sharing your story . Thanks you also for enriching David’s life and sharing yours with him. I welcome you to Australia and to nursing . As a nurse I think I’m qualified to say you will be an asset to all you care for . Please please do not take to much notice of the bigoted scared people we have in this country.
They are small in number but some times very loud. Take care xx
Good people will always attract good karma because they don’t let the harshness of what can happen in the world change them and how they treat others. Congratulations and best of luck with your future studies; I’m sure you will be a brilliant nurse, and that the profession will be that little bit better for having you.
Ahmad that is the most inspiring an heartbreaking story I’ve read, u r a beautiful human being, welcome to Australia, may u have a wonderful life with your new family love to all of u
Well done Ahmad, so pleased that David was your mentor and that you still stay in contact with his sister. your family would be ever so proud of you.