A heartwarming story tells of a 31-year-old man who left his home country – Pakistan – for a surgery procedure in the U.S., but ended up getting far more than just clinical assistance. He found his ‘home away from home’ in the southern city, and presently considers it and all its 211,000 occupants part of his big family.
While he was preparing to tie the knot, he did what anyone else would do, he invited his family – all 211,000 of them – from Birmingham – to his wedding.
This special story started in Pakistan where Anwer, who experienced kidney stones consistently every year or two, required a medical procedure that he found could be most efficient and easy on the wallet at UAB Hospital in Birmingham.
Anwer, not knowing anything about the city or state prior to his visit, started doing his homework on the place. He posted to Reddit – a network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions. Questions such as how the weather is, what’s the most effective way to get around, and so on. That’s when he quickly got a small taste of southern hospitality.
“People responded in a way that I wouldn’t even expect from my own people in Pakistan,” Anwer told a CBS local affiliate.
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People in the Reddit group began supporting him, making proposals, and assisting him with working with his trip/stay by ensuring he had rides to places.
Andrew Harris, from Birmingham, would drive him around, take him out to supper, and guarantee he got to try however many food varieties from different nations as he could during his stay, adding that Anwer generally attempted to pay him, yet he never accepted payment, because it was as if he were making a great friend out of the South Asian guest.
Finally, the day came. After the medical procedure was completed, Anwer was set to get back to Pakistan.
“When he started to leave, I got this huge hole in my stomach–in my heart–that I was about to lose him,” Harris said. “Knowing him such a short time, I was surprised that I started having those feelings, but he’s already become such an important part of my life.”
Once home, Anwer felt that since Harris and the rest of Birmingham had become such a great piece of his heart, they ought to be at his upcoming wedding. He posted in a similar Reddit group that every one of the individuals to the thread were invited, and they could bring anybody from the city.
In the Reddit /r/birmingham he wrote days after the fact: “Hi home city and its kin. I trust you’re all fine. Simply a brief look at one of my days however marriage is a multiday festivity here.”
Soon after, the comments started flooding in wishing him the best to both his fiancée and him. One person even moved to the state of Alabama, saying Anwer’s journey influenced them on the decision.
“I was considering permanently moving to Birmingham when I first read about your story through this Reddit,” one person wrote. “I was so touched that it (among many other things) helped convince me to take the plunge and commit.”
That’s when Anwer answered, “For you it’s a once in a lifetime chance, no embraces are turned down here.”
His wedding occurred on May the 22nd, and it’s not clear to the number of people from Birmingham who were able to make it, since it was a long flight and such a short notice. However, they were all invited, and that’s the thing that matters.