Ibrahim Halil Dudu, 38, is a refugee from Syria, who has become an overnight celebrity by helping out and doing something that he loves. On September 22, a Canadian bride named Jo Du, who rented a home in Guelph, Ontario to get ready for her wedding ceremony, was very grateful for Dudu’s help.
As Miss Du was getting dressed, drama occurred – the zipper on the back of the wedding gown broke – and the people around her were scrambling to repair it. As all of this was happening, photographer Lindsay Coulter noticed that the man next door was working with several tools in his garage.
Coulter told one of the bridesmaids to ask the neighbor for a pair of pliers to fix the zipper. Call it luck, call it a beautiful coincidence, but the neighbor, David Hobson, welcomed a family of Syrian refugees in his home on September 18. Mr. Hobson will be hosting them until they can find work.
The family from war-torn Aleppo is comprised of Mr. Dudu, who worked as a tailor for 28 years, his wife, Emine, a former schoolteacher, and their children – Azad, 11, Simaf, 9, and seven-year-old Muhammed.
Dudu quickly understood the issue, he grabbed his sewing kit and accompanied by his son he rushed to help Du. Thanks to Google Translate, the Canadians, and the Syrians were able to communicate, and Dudu saved the bride’s gorgeous gown. As Dudu was busy cutting, sewing, and working his magic to stitch the damaged dress, Coulter snapped several pictures of the man at work.
After the big event, Coulter shared several photos of the wedding, and some of them featured Dudu fixing the dress. In a matter of hours, the images of the refugee helping out the bride went viral and had over half of million views. Several media outlets contacted Mr. Dudu for him to share his story.
When Dudu was 10 years old he learned that his family could no longer pay for his school, so he went to a neighbor, who taught him how to sew and make garments. He worked with that friend for several years before being able to own a small tailoring business.
Like almost everything in Aleppo, the business was bombed, the Dudu family barely made it out alive and fled to a nearby village. The Dudus eventually moved to Turkey where they lived for three years before heading to Canada. More than 30,000 Syrian refugees have resettled in Canada since last November. Dudu said through a translator:
“I was so excited and so happy. I like to help Canadian people from my heart.”
Hobson, a technology manager at the University of Guelph, and his wife, a veterinarian, explained that they had renovated their basement for the Dudus. The husband said:
“We had no idea who [was] coming or how they [were] coming.”
“They were very brave to just hop on a plane. They literally didn’t know where they were going. We picked them up, put them to bed and they slept for 14 hours.”
“After a few minutes of further attempts there was a knock on the door and the neighbor along with the tailor and his son arrived to help, sewing kit in tow.”
She also added:
“The neighbor David told me they had just moved to Canada four days ago.They didn’t speak a word of English, and had been communicating by using Google Translate. The young boy looked at his dad, the girls around him, at my camera and back to his dad about a hundred times. He was curious and in seemingly good spirits. I couldn’t help but stand back in awe of the situation.”
The groom, Earl Lee, said he was very grateful, he shared:
“We’re so lucky that happened to us.”
A GoFundMe page was set to help Mr. Dudu and his family get the medical care that they need. The page reads:
“As wonderful and heartwarming as this story is, the Dudu family does have a number of challenges in front of them. First and foremost is their health. We’ve taken them to a dentist who has determined that several family members will require significant dental work due to several years of neglect brought on by their circumstances as refugees. We are also realizing they will require money for other healthcare needs, such as glasses and medication.”
The response to Ibrahim Halil Dudu’s story was mostly positive although some critics were quick to label it as pro-refugee liberal propaganda.