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Twitter Helps Former Child Refugee Find 'Mystery Man' who Gifted Her Bicycle on 5th Birthday

Mevan Babakar posted a photo on Twitter of the mystery man, who she said worked near the refugee camp near Zwolle, and had bought her a bike “out of the kindness of his heart” on her fifth birthday.

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Updated:August 17, 2019, 10:35 AM IST
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Twitter Helps Former Child Refugee Find 'Mystery Man' who Gifted Her Bicycle on 5th Birthday
"A final photo, with a rare smile!" (Twitter/ @MeAndVan)
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A woman has been reunited with a stranger, who gifted her a bike, when she lived as a child refugee in the Netherlands during the 1990s.

Mevan Babakar posted a photo on Twitter of the mystery man, who she said worked near the refugee camp near Zwolle, and had bought her a bike “out of the kindness of his heart” on her fifth birthday.

The post soon went viral with thousands of retweets, likes and comments with netizens trying their best to reunite the pair.

Within a day, the media professional was thanking the Internet for helping her trace her benefactor.

She also got to thank the man, whom she identified as Egbert, in person, after he was found living in Germany.

Egbert and his wife had apparently been helping other refugees at the camp, too.

The 29-year-old, who heads automated fact-checking at UK-based Full Fact, had trying to retrace her Kurdish family’s journey after they fled Iraq in the 1990s during the first Gulf War. They had travelled for five years— through Turkey, Azerbaijan and Russia— before finding safety in the Zwolle refugee camp. Eventually, the family moved to the United Kingdom, where Babakar obtained a master’s degree in bio-engineering from Sheffield University and opted for a career in the media.

On the last day of her recent trip to the Netherlands, Babakar sought the help of the Internet to trace Egbert after failing to “dig up much information about the refugee camp, even after talking to local historians and librarians,” according to The Washington Post.

“It was a magical thing to be gifted something that I thought was just too big for me. And I think that gift became the basis of how I felt about myself,” she told the Post.

With the help of netizens and a local journalist, she found the man she had been looking for, in Germany.

“It felt like seeing a long-lost relative, really, in the same way you might see someone at Christmas and you talk about nothing and everything in one go,” she said of her first meeting with Egbert in more than two decades.

Babakar said Egbert was “proud of her” and she had met members of his family, and was shown around his garden and the orchids.

"He said it felt like I'd never left," the BBC quoted Babakar as saying.

Babakar’s mother expressed her gratitude for Egbert’s generosity some 24 years ago as they spoke over the phone.

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