Simple acts of kindness can have a deep, lasting impact.
Mevan Babakar had a difficult start in life. Her Kurdish parents fled Iraq during the Gulf War in the 1990s, travelling through Turkey, Azerbaijan and Russia until the family reached the West and spent a year in a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands.
Mevan now works for a fact-checking charity and lives happily in London. But she never forgot the refugee camp worker all those years ago who, out of the kindness of his own heart, bought her a red, shiny bike. “My five-year-old heart exploded with joy,” she remembers.
Mevan, today aged 29, decided to track down the man and posted an old photo of the two of them in the camp on Twitter. To her surprise, the tweet was shared more than 7,000 times and within 36 hours the charity worker, Egbert, was located in Germany.
The pair were reunited and Mevan posted another photograph: “This is Egbert. He’s been helping refugees since the 90s. He thought the bike was too small a gesture to make such a big fuss about.”
For Mevan, the lesson is that small actions can have big consequences: “The kindness Egbert showed me continues to shape me. That’s the magical thing about kindness: it doesn’t cost anything and it changes the world one person at a time.”