Refugee stranger steps in as dress falls apart on wedding day
Published Tuesday, September 27, 2016 4:08PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 27, 2016 7:25PM EDT
A last-minute wedding day disaster was averted by the most unlikely of people – a refugee who had only arrived in Canada four days earlier and didn’t know a word of English.
Sunday was wedding day for Earl Lee and Jo Du.
They had booked the Cambridge Mill to provide the perfect backdrop. They had hired a photographer to capture every moment of the day.
With family members coming in from out of the country, they had rented a house in Guelph so they’d have a place for everyone to stay.
And then it happened – something that left Du trying not to panic, and even her photographer unsure what to do.
“One of the teeth on her dress had a bit of a snag,” says the photographer, Lindsay Coulter.
“It fell apart completely.”
Nobody in the room knew how to fix the zipper. Nobody in the room knew much about Guelph either – so they didn’t know where they might be able to find a tailor on a Sunday.
Coulter remembered that when she arrived at the house, she had seen a garage door open at the property next door. Maybe somebody there would be able to help?
That’s where David Hobson enters the story.
“A very nicely dressed woman in a bridesmaid dress came running up the street, asking for our help,” he says.
The woman explained the situation, and asked Hobson if he had any pliers or any other tools that might help them fix the dress.
Hobson replied that he could do them one better. He offered up the services of a “master tailor” living under his roof.
Months earlier, Hobson and his family had agreed to host a family of Syrian refugees, after local businessman Jim Estill announced he would sponsor 50 families for Guelph and called on the community to help with housing, clothing and other things to help them settle in Canada.
Last Wednesday, Ibrahim Halil Dudu arrived in Canada – and at Hobson’s doorstep – with his wife and three children.
Hobson says his neighbourhood has quickly stepped up to not only introduce themselves to the new Canadians, but to help them acclimatize to their new home.
“Everybody’s been getting involved with meals and teaching English and playing with the children,” he says.
On Sunday, when the bridesmaid ran up to ask for help, Hobson was playing outside with his kids and Halil Dudu’s children.
Though the father did not know any English, the two families had been able to communicate with the aid of Google Translate.
Hobson knew his guest was a tailor by trade, and he knew he had a sewing kit inside that might be able to get the job done – which is exactly what happened.
“He literally sewed her wedding dress back onto her,” Coulter says. “Everyone was so grateful. They said thank you a million times.”
The bride says that even though she’d been telling herself everything would be OK, some concern was starting to creep in – at least until Hobson and Halil Dudu showed up.
“I do want to really thank them. (They) saved the day so we could get married,” Du says.
“It could only happen in Canada, I think,” adds her husband, Lee. “We’re so lucky that happened to us, and so grateful.”
Hobson, too, says he felt like he was witnessing something very special.
“It was a very touching moment, to see that they really want to be contributing Canadians,” he says.
For his part, Halil Dudu – who worked as a tailor in Syria for 28 years – says he’s already found Canadians to be quick to help each other out, and he wants to be a part of help two.
“I was so excited and so happy (to) help Canadian people like other people helped (me),” he says through a translator.
Coulter posted photos of the day’s events to her Facebook page, along with her thoughts on what she’d witnessed.
“Every weekend I take photos of people on the happiest days of their lives, and today one man who has seen some of the worst things our world has to offer came to the rescue,” she wrote.
With reporting by Marc Venema