A photo of a Syrian refugee who works as a shoeshiner gazing longingly into a Turkish gym went viral, prompting the gym’s owners to track him down and give him a gift.
A patron of the gym took the photo of 12-year-old Mohammed Hussein standing outside of the window with his shoe-shining kit strapped to his back. Hussein is staring through the window and watching people working out.
The photo went viral and came to the attention of the gym’s management.
Gym proprietor, Engin Doğan, began searching for the young boy and found him working in the neighborhood. Doğan offered Hussein a lifetime free membership, which the boy happily accepted.
Turkish social media was heartbroken over the viral photo of a Syrian refugee shoeshine boy staring in from the outside of a southeast Turkey gym (left). So the gym gave the 12-year-old Muhammad Hussein a free lifetime membership (right) from pics
The 12-year-old told local media that he was dreaming of losing weight while watching people workout in the gym. His family came to Turkey as refugees. They earn money through selling scrap paper and metal they collect from trash bins and Hussein’s shoe-shining.
Doğan said he worked as a child in his family’s bakery and knows what it’s like growing up in poverty. He says many people have contacted them and offered aid for the boy and they have been praised on social media for their good deed.
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Another of the gym’s owners also said they were moved to act because they too came from nothing. Mustafa Kucukkaya told Turkish newspaper Sabah, “It affected me very much because we came from nothing and we did not have such a gym in our time.”
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