Compassion: Wounded war vet's powerful encounter with a grateful cab driver from Iraq « on: January 12, 2014, 06:28:45 PM » (SUN)
Wounded war vets powerful encounter with a grateful cab driver from Iraq
January 12, 2014 by Michael Dorstewitz (Link below)
A disabled Iraq War veteran told a compelling story Thursday in the form a a series of tweets. It reads like a mini-serial novel,... one in which you can't wait for the next installment and it tells a story one is not likely to hear from the mainstream media.
This slice of life encounter between J.R. Salzman and a Dallas cab driver was first picked up by Independent Journal Review. No matter what your view of the war in Iraq is, this story of a chance encounter will restore your faith in the human spirit, and the goodness that is America.
I am constantly amazed at the circumstances that evolve in life, and events that transpire, such as my cab ride tonight.
J.R. Salzman (@jrsalzman) January 9, 2014
I just flew to Dallas, Texas for business reasons. When my hotel shuttle failed to pick me up due to my delayed flight, I had to get a cab.
My cab driver spoke broken English, like most I've had around the country. After figuring out my hotel address, we were on our way.
My conversation with my cab driver hit all the usual points. How cold it is in the Midwest, changes in weather, and the Texas summer heat.
Eventually my cabdriver asked about my missing arm. I told him I lost it in Iraq. He asked which city, and how I lost it. I said Baghdad.
I told him I was blown up by an Iranian weapons expert, using an Iranian shape charge. He stopped talking after that.
After a couple minutes of silence, I asked him if he would mind telling me where he was from. He choked out the words, "I'm a Kurd."
His voice cracked as he said, I can't look at you and your arm or I will start crying. I am forever grateful for what you have done for us.
His family fled from Northern Iraq and lived in Iran for 10 years due to the turmoil in the Middle East.
He said, don't pay attention to what's being said in the media. There is not an Iraqi who's not happy to see Saddam gone.
He then went on to elaborate on all of those who had been killed by Saddam. Siblings, cousins, even the dog.
He kept reiterating how grateful he was for those who sacrificed to get rid of Saddam as he tried to keep it together and not cry.
I asked if he has been back to Iraq since, and he said yes. The Kurds in Northern Iraq are prospering now that Saddam is gone.
Eventually he turned and said, this cab ride is free. And I want to pay for your hotel room. I am so grateful for what you've done.
I insisted on paying for my cab, and he refused. I made up an excuse about my hotel room bill so he wouldn't pay for it.
After a lot of banter, I conceded to the free cab ride, but I was going to pay for my own hotel room, despite his insistence.
I asked if he plans on returning to Iraq, and he said he would if he did not have children in the American school system.
The whole time he had to struggle to keep it together and not break down crying when he saw my arm and heard of my sacrifice.
Eventually we pulled up to my hotel, and I insisted one last time that I pay for my own hotel because I was here on business.
For those doubting the authenticity of my story, his name is Sibari Diwali. I plan on following up with him to write something, anything.
As surprised as I was by tonight's events, it simply reaffirmed what I already learned during my service in Iraq. Iraqis are grateful.
His story was like many others I heard, like the local beggar outside our patrol base who lost both of his brothers to Saddam's henchmen.
To say Iraq was better off with Saddam in charge is to live in an alternate reality, where facts don't exist and politics trump reality.
It's nice to hear, thank you for your service. It's even better to hear it from someone I risked my life for halfway around the world.