Newly arrived Syrian refugee helps save bride's wedding day

Waterloo photographer Lindsay Coulter says a master tailor and Syrian refugee, Ibrahim Haltl Dudu, helped a Toronto woman when the zipper on her wedding dress broke ahead of her wedding on Sunday.

Ibrahim Haltl Dudu 'saw the issue with the zipper right away and knew exactly what had to be done'

Ibrahim Haltl Dudu, a master tailor, sews Jo Du of Toronto into her wedding dress on Sept. 25. Dudu is a Syrian refugee who had arrived in Canada with his family just four days earlier. (Courtesy of Lindsay Coulter )

A bride with a busted zipper was able to walk down the aisle on Sunday after her dress was repaired by a Syrian refugee who had arrived in Canada just four days earlier.

Jo Du of Toronto was staying in a rented house in Guelph, Ont., with family ahead of her wedding at the Cambridge Mill, and was getting into her dress when disaster struck.

"Jo's bridesmaids were helping her into her gown when the zipper broke," Waterloo photographer Lindsay Coulter posted on her Facebook page.

The bridesmaids weren't able to fix it themselves, so one of them went next door to ask for tools that could help them repair the dress.
Dudu worked quickly to sew Du of Toronto into her wedding dress at a home in Guelph ahead of her wedding at the Cambridge Mill. (Courtesy of Lindsay Coulter )

The neighbour was hosting a family from Syria and the father, Ibrahim Haltl Dudu, is a master tailor.

Using Google Translate and a lot of pointing, Coulter said Dudu got to work.

"I think he saw the issue with the zipper right away and knew exactly what had to be done because within a few minutes, Jo was sewn into her dress, the zipper was done up and she was ready to go," Coulter said in an interview.

Son watched father work

The neighbour told Coulter that Dudu and his family had just arrived in Canada four days earlier and did not speak any English.

Dudu's son watched his father work and took in the hubbub of a Canadian wedding.

"The young boy looked at his dad, the girls around him, at my camera and back to his dad about a hundred times. He was curious and in seemingly good spirits. I couldn't help but stand back in awe of the situation," Coulter wrote.

Du and her husband, Earl Lee, were particularly touched by Dudu's willingness to help because they are immigrants from China.

"They really felt like it was a special moment that this man, who had been in Canada for four days and really had seen a lot of horrific things, was able to come in and generously donate his time when I'm sure he has a lot going on himself right now," Coulter told CBC News.

'Spirit of humanity'

Coulter said the experience made her proud to live in Canada.

"Every weekend I take photos of people on the happiest days of their lives, and today one man who has seen some of the worst things our world has to offer came to the rescue," Coulter wrote on Facebook. "I'm in awe of the families who have welcomed these strangers into their homes and lives, and I'm inspired by the resilience of the Syrian people."

Coulter's Facebook post has more than 23,000 likes and reactions.
Even though he speaks no English, Dudu saved the day for the bride-to-be. (Courtesy of Lindsay Coulter )

"I have to admit that as a Syrian, I have lost every faith in humanity over the last couple of years, and had no intention whatsoever leaving my country no matter what happens because nothing can be more hurtful than being a stranger in a far away place with the threat of losing [your] dignity and self esteem, but reading these kind and heartwarming words prove to me that there are still good hearted humans out there, especially the Canadian community," one person wrote on Coulter's page.

Another person wrote, "To think that this family just witnessed possibly the greatest hardships of their lives and are then the first to come running to the rescue truly shows us the spirit of humanity."

The story has received international attention, including from CNN and the Guardian.

Coulter said the Dudu family has some dental and medical concerns after years without proper care, so she has helped set up a GoFundMe page for the family.


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