Going to the gym for a vigorous workout to get your blood flowing and improve your physical condition is something that many people enjoy. While others may not necessarily consider it a fun time, they still show up for health-related reasons. Despite the variety of opinions, the fact that one is even able to go to the gym in the first place is a privilege many people take for granted.
Mohammed Khaled is a 12-year-old Syrian refugee living in Turkey who works as a shoe shiner. As he worked hard each day to earn himself a little bit of money, he would often think about one day joining a gym and improving his physical health and appearance—however, such an opportunity to do so hadn’t appeared.
The 12-year-old boy dreamed of one day getting himself into great shape.
One day, having finished his work, Khaled was passing by a gym in his local neighborhood, and he took a moment to pause by it and peer inside. He looked longingly at the strong and muscular people using the machines, perhaps imagining himself inside at that very moment.
Behind him, an individual who regularly visited the gym saw Khaled’s earnest gaze and decided to snap a picture of the boy. The picture was then posted on social media.
Khaled had no idea that his life was about to change drastically.
The heart-wrenching picture of Khaled quickly went viral. As it spread across Turkey, he found himself becoming a household name, while various media organization worked desperately to track him down.
However, no person was more touched by the photo than the owner of the gym, Engin Dogan. He was so moved by the picture, he decided he wanted to do something special for the boy.
The gym owner then contacted Khaled and offered him a lifetime membership.
“A boy, looking through the gym window, wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his [work stool]… Our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here,” Dogan explained to The New Arab. “And, we did it. He is one of our members now.”
Khaled was thrilled by the offer, which he eagerly accepted.
“He found me and helped me,” Khaled explained.
“I had always dreamed of losing weight and now I believe I can do that by working out.”
Since the picture of Khaled went viral, he’s been photographed enjoying his membership and putting his best efforts into learning the machines and working hard. It’s clear he’s on the right track to getting the physique he’s always wanted, and he’s grateful for the chance to follow his dream.
His fans are also no doubt excited to see what’s to come for him in the future!
Check out the tweet that helped Khaled’s story go viral below:
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, DHA photo) pic.twitter.com/NCTXvV4I5F
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) January 9, 2018