'Do you know that was the first time I've been called Mr. in more than ten years? The first time I was referred to as human.. as equal.' As we looked into each other's eyes, overwhelmed with emotion, with empathy and humility. A moment of utter peace and understanding, tears running down our face.
"My daughter got sick and they wouldn't treat her, I couldn't come up with a thousand dollars. I'm from Iraq but I lived in Lebanon for 10 years before I came to Canada. Over there, they didn't care about me, about us, about humans. There were two types of citizens; people who had money and us. If you didn't have money, you are less than human, you are inferior. I struggled to keep my family alive and well, I did more than anyone can imagine to keep them safe. They gave us no dignity, we were not human to them. Dignity was not a standard, it was bought. Everything changed when we came to Canada, and I'll never forget the day I landed and received that letter, "Dear Mr. Rafid, Welcome to Canada..." Do you know how life changing that was for me Ammar? Do you know that was the first time I've been called a 'Mr.' in more than 10 years... They respect everyone here, We care for each other, that's the best thing about Canada. Being called a 'Mr.' told me I am human, I am equal, I am respected."
I was and will always be in tears at this story. When Mr. Rafid told me his story, we looked at each other, as time stood still, empathizing, and broke down into tears. They were tears of great sadness, celebration of Canada, and pride of a persevering father. We as Canadians know that we have it better than others around the world. We know we may take things for granted, but I have never thought just how empowering it is to address someone so politely. Every now and then you meet someone, you hear something, that changes your feelings about the world. Mr. Rafid changed me, for the better. Thank you Mr. Rafid for feeding those who cannot pay, thank you for your stories. Be grateful of those around you and our country. Humility is Human. #TheCanadianWay