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Viral

This viral photo of a Syrian refugee gazing into a Turkish gym will break your cold heart

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The 12-year-old now has a free lifetime membership, so maybe the world doesn't totally suck?

Anna Freeman

11 Enero 2018 13:08

The power of social media really is a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes for the good, often for the bad, but let’s face it, when stuff like this happens it’s a God damn miracle-worker.

A photo of a Syrian refugee gazing through the window of a Turkish gym made the rounds on social media, touching the hearts of just about everyone who saw it. The 12-year-old Muhammet Hussein, who fled the war in Syria and now works as a shoe-shiner in the southern Turkish city of Adiyaman, was pictured staring into the Olimpiyat Sports Center.

Omer Yavuz, who took the photograph, said he posted it online because he wanted to highlight the young boy's circumstances. He told the BBC: ‘I wanted people to see Muhammet with sandals on his feet in the cold. I couldn't sleep that night, because I couldn't stop thinking about his situation.’

Wearing a foot stool strapped across his back and open-toe flip flops, the image is enough to make even the stoniest people feel a pang of emotion. One of the gym’s owners, Mustafa Kucukkaya, shared the photo on Instagram saying staff at the business were ‘very moved’ and appealed for help to get in contact with him.

‘If you know this brother, please introduce us,’ he wrote, ‘The gym is free of charge for our brother for life.’

And, as so often happens when social media works its magic, they managed to track Muhammet down. Kucukkaya shared a snap of the gym’s staff with Muhammet. ‘We found our brother. Thank god, we kept our promise of providing him with a lifelong membership,’ he wrote.

Needless to say, people were loving it on Instagram and Twitter. When Engin Dogan, another of the gym's owners, also shared a picture of himself with Muhammet, one user commented: ‘There are good souls in every other corner of the homeland. You are beautiful, this homeland is beautiful.’

Although some questioned the motives of the gym, speculating on whether the membership offer might be a PR stunt, most can agree that the outcome is still positive. Muhammet told Turkish news website Hurriyet Daily News that he was ‘very happy’ to be able to attend the gym and was grateful to the staff for helping him work out.

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