Mevan Babakar took to Twitter on Monday asking for help.
The 29-year-old had embarked on a mission to retrace her family's refugee journey that took them to London. During her research, Babakar decided to track down the man who had gifted her a bike while she was living in the Netherlands as a child refugee. Though she remembered feeling so much joy over the surprise, Babakar couldn't recall the "generous" man's name. So she asked the internet for assistance.
"I was a refugee for 5 yrs in the 90s and this man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike," she tweeted along with the photo of the mystery man. "My five year old heart exploded with joy. I just want to know his name. Help?"
Within hours, the tweet had garnered thousands of likes and retweets, eventually catching the attention of Arjen van der Zee, who volunteers at a nonprofit news outlet in Zwolle, where Babakar's family had lived after fleeing Iraq.
"I looked at the picture and immediately knew this guy who I had worked with in my early twenties," van der Zee told the New York Times. "I knew him as a very generous kind, soft, warm man."
However, van Der Zee couldn't remember the man's name, so he began asking his colleagues for any information. Several Facebook messages later, van Der Zee was able to get in touch with the bike-giver.
"He started to tell me that he remembered Mevan and her mother," van der Zee said. "He said he always told his wife, if there were people he wanted to see again in his life it was Mevan and her mother."
The following night, Babakar finally reunited the aid worker who had given her the bike. His name is Egbert.
Babakar told the Times that she and Egbert plan to stay in touch, and will hopefully arrange another meet-up with her mother.
She also spoke about all the support she's received within the past two days, and said she was happy that her story had touched so many people.
"I think it’s really easy for people to forget or to feel really powerless in the face of these big, abstract problems that we hear about all the time," she said. "It’s really a comfort to remember we are all very powerful in the way that we treat others. Especially in the small acts, we are powerful."