In Iraq prison as a teen, he drug dead bodies executed by Saddam Hussain

Airport parking garage Orlando, Florida
No car, no backpack, no money, only hope


Be flexible, have fun, and be ready when an ordinary event becomes more. Right?

Cab ride back to Cleveland airport, 8:00am pickup at Fairfield Marriott. Just another day.

We got to talking, which led to a 30-minute epic opportunity. He came to New York City at 16, in 1973. Growing up, he loved watching John Wayne movies in Iraq.

He became a nonviolent protestor. At 15, he became surround by Iraqi police and was arrested for no apparent reason.

In Iraq prison as a teen, he was made to drag dead bodies, executed by Saddam Hussain, presumably to vehicles for mass burial. Never got specific details except when I asked if this was a one-time event. He said, no, it was everyday.

After nine months, he was able to escape, get across the river into Turkey and make it to America.

He said he knew he would never see his parents again.

Will share another part of this story at the…

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Phillipians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

    We have our ups and downs in life and we deal with them based on our instincts, character traits and surroundings. Things we could never dream of happening here are very real for way to many people around the world. God bless him and you as I’m sure you were able to reassure him that he made the best decision to escape. You may have been silent, but in the stillness he might have heard God speaking.

  2. David, it is good to be a listener. And cab rides have almost always produced the best learnings.

    The teacher, learning from a cab driver?

    Yes. Absolutely.

    Often feel empty when there is no conversation – which can happen for a variety of reasons.

    And this too, is a gift from God.

  3. I would be at a loss for words after hearing his story. And I would probably remain silent because I would be afraid to say the wrong thing.

    Fear + silence = no change

    Fear + speaking while uncomfortable = facilitating change

  4. David, asked a fair number of questions and occasionally validated what he was saying.

    Btw, in retrospect, it all happened organically – wasn’t using some ‘great listener’ formula. Just totally in the moment.

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