“Do we really want these kinds of people here?”
That’s the message one Sydney father posted on Facebook after a recent encounter with a Muslim woman.
But the NSW dad didn’t go on to post a hate-filled, Islamophobic tirade. Instead, his Facebook message described a truly lovely encounter with the generous stranger.
The man, ABC radio journalist James Carletom, wrote about the incident after losing his son’s new passport in the south-west Sydney suburb of Lakemba.
“This afternoon I picked up my son Avi’s new passport from the post office and went to my local shops at Lakemba. Returning home, it was gone,” he wrote.
Panicking, he retraced his steps to the area of Lakemba where he’d originally parked.
“A woman, who was clearly Muslim because she was wearing a hejab saw my distress. She approached and said ‘have you by chance lost a child’s passport?,” he recalled.
“She’d parked in my spot sometime after I left – and happened to find it,” he continued.
“SHE THEN WAITED FOR ONE HOUR WHERE SHE FOUND IT IN THE HOPE THAT SOMEONE WOULD RETURN.”
Carleton said the kind-hearted woman wouldn’t accept any payment for her generous deed.
“I begged to pay a reward or make some gesture of recompense. She laughed. ‘As if I would accept it!'”
In Paris following the attacks, a blindfolded Muslim man told bystanders: “If you trust me, hug me.” Hundreds of Parisians did (post continues after video):
Carleton’s post has been shared more than 3,100 times since November 4, and attracted scores of comments praising the woman’s act of kindness.
Belmore resident Carleton joked online that his post about losing a passport had “turned being a doofus into a social movement”.
But he also told The Daily Telegraph he wasn’t surprised by the woman’s generosity because it was part of the “community spirit” he had become used to in Belmore and Lakemba.
“I am surprised with the way it took off with everyone on social media with such speed,” he said.