B.C. Starbucks co-workers replace stolen bike for Iraqi teen seeking asylum

An 18-year-old from Iraq was working at Starbucks when he learned his bike was stolen from the patio

A day that started off terribly after a teen’s bike was stolen during his Starbucks shift has had a happy ending after all.

A bike gifted to Abdalla Ahmed by his foster parents was recently stolen while he was working at the coffee shop.

The 18-year-old came to Canada just over one year ago when he crossed the border from the United States to seek asylum from Iraq. He’s been living in a foster home ever since and his parents gave him the bike so he could get around.

On Aug. 30, Ahmed rode his bike to the Starbucks at 20151 Fraser Hwy. – where he has worked as a barista since July.

He locked his bike outside on the patio railing just before starting his shift at 4:30 a.m.

A few hours later a colleague of Ahmed’s went outside to the patio to set up the tables and chairs and discovered his broken bike lock.

“I told [my colleagues] whoever stole it might need it more than me,” Ahmed said.

READ MORE: Aldergrove residents fear criminals getting ‘braver’

He said the bike belonged to his foster dad, who had it for several years.

“I was really sad about it because it was a gift from my foster parents,” Ahmed said. “I was really unhappy and sad, but I tried not to show it.”

Ahmed was scheduled to work until 10:30 a.m. on that Friday, but his manager Krystal Ackermans asked him to stay an extra half hour – for good reason.

Before the end of his shift Ahmed had a new bike waiting for him and a way to get home.

“The bike was just around the $270 mark,” said Ackermans. “The entire team donated their weekly tips and I paid the difference.”

Ahmed was emotional because he hasn’t been with the coffee shop for very long, but Ackermans said it was the “right decision to make.”

“I was in tears. I cried,” said Ahmed. “I never really expected that.”

Although Ahmed graduated high school earlier this year he marked this moment as a highlight.

“It was one of the best things to happen to me in 2019,” Ahmed smiled.

Meanwhile, Ahmed is hoping to hear more good news.

Ahmed is an asylum seeker and is currently waiting for a response from the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) in regards to his application.

Ahmed said he travelled to the United States in July 2018 with the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP), a four-week summer exchange program where students travel across the United States to learn about American culture and develop leadership and community skills, according to its website.

While on the trip Ahmed said he received a phone call where he learned his life would be in danger if he returned to Iraq.

When IYLEP concluded Ahmed ran away from the group.

He left the hotel in Washington, D.C. where the youth group was staying and made his way to a train station where he purchased a ticket to New York City.

Ahmed said that was a random decision he made because he was just trying to get away from the group.

“I stayed on the streets in New York City for (the) night,” he said, tearing up. “It was really sad, and I didn’t know anybody and I didn’t have anyone there.”

READ MORE: Asylum seekers will wait up to two years for refugee claims to be processed

The next morning Ahmed said he took a train to Seattle.

“I couldn’t go home, otherwise I wouldn’t be here and take all those risks and sleep on the streets and be on a train for four days and cross illegally… it was the only option I had at that time,” he said.

Once arriving in Seattle, Ahmed said he crossed into Canada at 0 Avenue and 184th Street where he was intercepted by border officers and taken in for questioning.

“I didn’t have any passport or documents of my own. My program staff took all [our] passports from us,” he said.

From there social workers accompanied Ahmed to a foster home in Langley. He was admitted into Langley Secondary School and graduated earlier this year.

“It was pretty hard in the beginning for me to adapt to all the change,” he said.

Ahmed left a family behind in Iraq.

“It was really hard for [my mom] to show her support… we really had a good connection,” he said. “She still sometimes cries when we video call.”

Ahmed’s original application to gain refugee status in Canada was denied, and he has now appealed the decision and is awaiting final word from the government.



joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Abdalla Ahmed at his Langley Secondary School graduation (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Abdalla Ahmed with his new bike gifted to him by his colleagues at Starbucks. (Joti Grewal/Black Press Media)

Just Posted

Ucluelet’s Edge-to-Edge Marathon turns 20 this weekend

Over 400 runners get set for half-marathon or 10K distances.

WATCH: Tofino byelection candidates respond to community concerns at forum

Tofino will vote in a municipal byelection on Nov. 2.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to campaign in Port Alberni

Singh joins Courtenay-Alberni candidate for rally to kick off final weekend before election

Tofino byelection candidates explain why they’re running

Town to vote on Nov. 2 to fill council seat left vacant by tragic death of Coun. Dorothy Baert

West Coast becoming a vibrant bike community

“This area has everything and more to offer for riding enthusiasts of all diverse ages.”

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read