By Mohammad Zafar, Engage Minnesota
On the day before Christmas Eve, officer Jon Cole of the Vermillion, SD Police Department received a call about a Somali man stranded at a McDonald’s restaurant after his charter bus left without him on its way to Minneapolis. He shared his positive encounter with the stranded man with Engage Minnesota:
“I had a Somali male traveler that got trapped here in town when his charter bus left without him. He was going back home to Minneapolis and the bus stops here at the local McDonald’s for a breakfast break. His name was Abdewali and we could not get the bus to turn around but I was able to get the company to make special arrangements for another bus traveling nearby to make a detour so he could get to Sioux Falls to make the connection to Minneapolis.
As his luggage was on the other bus we made more arrangements for it to be left waiting for him until he could get to Minneapolis. However, he had no money and now had to wait at McDonald’s all day for 8 hours until the detoured bus could get him. This was all the day before Christmas Eve. After all the arrangements were made, he was left at McD’s and I spoke with the manager who stated she would take care of his meals for him while he waited.
I decided on my lunch break to stop and buy him lunch and join in conversation since I know how it can be for a stranded foreigner in an strange unknown area. We spoke about our families, culture, our love for America and how horrible it was in Somalia for him and how in America anything is possible. After my lunch was over we shook hands and I went on my way.
Today he called me at work just to say Thank You, tell me he made it home, and most of all to wish me a Merry Christmas. It truly hit me. Here we are two totally different people, different upbringings, culture, religion, race, and experiences. We had no barriers, we didn’t see black or white, Christian or Muslim, police or civilian. We were two men enjoying a lunch and conversation and respect. It was a true Merry Christmas.”