Jo Du was being helped into her gorgeous white wedding dress this week when a tooth on the zipper broke. It was Sunday in Guelph, Ontario, and no tailor shop was open.
Jo Du didn't want to walk down the aisle to marry Earl Lee with pins in the back of her dress. But no one in the wedding party knew how to make the repair.
An enterprising bridesmaid knocked on a neighbor's door to ask David Hobson if he might have a pair of pliers they could borrow. Mr. Hobson took in the situation — the bridesmaid, the lacy white dress, and a request for pliers — and said, "I've got better than tools. I've got a master tailor."
David Hobson had a family of Syrian refugees from Aleppo living in his home for a few days: a mother, father, and 3 children. A local businessman, Jim Estill, has helped 50 Syrian families enter Canada and settle in the Guelph area — people from one of the most hellish landscapes on earth, brought to live in one of the safest, tidiest, and most serene towns in Canada.
The father of the Syrian family is Ibrahim Halil Dudu. He was indeed a master tailor in Aleppo for 28 years, and as soon as he saw the dress, Ibrahim Dudu got out his sewing kit and set to work.
"He literally sewed her wedding dress back onto her," Lindsay Coulter, the wedding photographer, told CTV News. "Everyone was so grateful. They said thank you a million times."
As it turns out, both the Du and Lee families are immigrants to Canada, too.
"Many of the bridesmaids were from China and were bowing to say thanks," said Lindsay Coulter, who posted photos and wrote on her Facebook page, "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."
"I was so excited and so happy," Ibrahim Halil Dudu said through a translator. "I like to help Canadian people from my heart."
Earl Lee called the master tailor's masterly repair, an "incredible act of kindness" from a "complete stranger who had only stepped foot in this country days ago."
The master tailor and his family, the wedding party and theirs: immigrants and families of immigrants, who came to Guelph from opposite ends of the world, and made new homes, and look after each other.