TROY, Mich. (WJBK) - The Syrian man who became an international sensation thanks to blog Humans of New York arrived in Troy late Thursday night.
Dr. Refaai Hamo was featured in a series of compelling posts on social media. He detailed his life and loss in the country wrecked by war. In the seven-part photo series, the man describes himself as a scientiest who lost his wife and daughter in a missile attack that destroyed his compound and several members of his extended family. In the final post, the man said he had been approved for relocation to Troy, Michigan.
His story even garnered a shoutout on Facebook from President Obama, welcoming him to America. Troy officials, however, were saying they knew nothing about the plans for the man to come to the city.
Nonetheless, Hamo touched down at Detroit Metropolitan Airport around 9:30 p.m. Thursday with his three daughters and his son. They had been living in Turkey waiting for admission to a new home after they were granted refugee status.
Speaking through a translator, Hamo said what he would tell Americans who are uneasy about Syrian refugees relocating to the country.
"Those who are against refugees coming to the United States, that's their own business. Maybe they don't understand what refugees are, what refugees are going through. [We] want to be like any citizen of the country that we're going to be living in. If they will only going to call me a refugee and treat me as only a refugee, I don't want to be here. I would rather go back ... I want to be a good citizen here."
Hamo says he wants the chance just to feel and be human again.
Hamo and his family has gotten a lot of support. Actor Edward Norton helped raise nearly half a million dollars for the family, most of which will go towards treating Hamo's stomach cancer. He could not get treatment when he was living in Turkey. That's one of the first orders of business now that the family is in the United States.
He also wants to get working and make an impact on America and just be a regular citizen.
Humans of New York is an online publication that spotlights the stories of strangers throughtout the city of New York. Some are sad, some are uplifting. The author is in the middle of a special series, though, spotlighting 12 Syrian families that have been cleared for resettlement in America.
To read more of those stories, visit HONY's Facebook page here.