We are driven by a bigger purpose.
TO HELP ONE BILLION PEOPLE BE HAPPY
at work, at home, in all aspects of life.
Why did I start DaysToHappy? To help a Syrian refugee who was beaten in the street and left crippled and blind.
Two years ago, I met a Syrian refugee family in downtown Boise in a government subsidized apartment next to the county office buildings. Bahaa, Mashael and their two kids spent many months in a Jordan refugee camp, and they had just arrived in our city. I’ll never forget the first time sitting in their apartment trying to talk with them and get to know them. They didn’t really speak English. I didn’t speak Arabic. Mashael was dressed in customary Muslim women’s clothing with a long black robe and a head covering that only exposed her face.
I volunteered to visit them each week to help them get acclimated to living in America as they began experiencing a new country, a new culture, a different language and so many other things without any family or friends. They had nothing except a few clothes and a few small pieces of furniture in the apartment.
Every week I would go visit them and see what I could do to help them. Local church members donated couches, tables and a television. Sometimes we would read letters together from the state of Idaho to try and help them understand what was being asked of them to do. Bahaa and I played chess together. We practiced learning English a lot, and I would have the mother and father compete to see who could read or spell an English word the fastest. They were competitive, and we all laughed together a lot. When they got an English word correct, they would each love to say with a big smile, “I’m the best translator. I translate for you.”
Over time I got to know them really well. Their English began to get a little better and each week their life story began to unfold. As I listened to their story, I was shocked, amazed, stunned and couldn’t believe everything they had been through in their lives -- all the pain, struggles, heartaches they experienced living in Syria. Bahaa was beaten in the streets of Syria by police officers. Because of the hits to his head, he was left 70 percent blind. Because of the severity of the hits to his feet, his feet never healed and were left deformed making it difficult to walk. Because he’s mostly blind, Bahaa has struggled to find a job and so he does what he can to help with the kids so his wife can work.
As I was starting DaysToHappy, I had the thought that one of the things I want to do as the business grows is buy Bahaa and Mashael a house for them and their kids.
Eventually I shared my idea with them: “I have something I would like to do for you when my company grows. I would like to buy you a house.” At first, they didn’t fully understand what I said so they tried to repeat it. Then I shared it again slowly, and they finally understood. They were in shock. They couldn’t believe it. They looked at each other with the biggest smiles I had ever seen from each of them. They kept saying “Really?”
My favorite part was when Bahaa looked at me with a huge smile on his face and said, “Okay. I pray for your company.”
I look forward to the day when I get to deliver a set of house keys to my dear Syrian friends I now consider family.
Founder & CEO