Freelance wedding photographer and UW grad Lindsay Coulter posts her work on her Facebook page, Lindsay Coulter Photography, on a regular basis. Typically, Coulter’s posts would gain on average 100 likes and a couple of shares here and there.
So when Coulter checked her Facebook page feed the morning of Sept. 26, she was shocked to see that one of her posts had already gained a significant amount of attention. It would soon go viral, gaining mass media attention around the world.
“I definitely didn’t expect it. I thought maybe my mom and four other people would like the story,” Coulter said via email.
The post that Coulter shared on her Facebook page told the story of how a Syrian refugee came to the rescue for bride Jo Du, who she was taking photos for.
“Everything was going well until the bride, Jo, put on her wedding dress,” said Coulter. “When her bridesmaid zipped up her wedding dress the zipper fell off one side and wouldn’t re-attach.”
Coulter then suggested that one of the bridesmaids should try to get help from the neighbours.
The “master tailor” was Halil Dudu, who had just arrived with his family in Canada four days earlier.
“Within a few minutes he had sewn the dress together while Jo was wearing it and we were able to move on with the rest of the wedding!” Coulter said.
As of now, Coulter’s story has gained more than 34,000 likes and more than 12, 000 shares on Facebook. It has not only been shared by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, but it has also been featured in multiple news outlets, such as CTV, CBC, CNN, The Telegraph, and even a Syrian TV show called the Al Youm Show.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking at first … Once all of the positive feedback started pouring in it was a really great feeling,” Coulter said. “I had a few people from Aleppo, Syria contact me to say thank you because before they saw all of the comments and positivity coming from the story they had no idea how much love for them there was in the world. They’re so used to seeing negativity and conflict that it actually inspired a couple of them to start the process to try to immigrate to Canada.”
In response to the attention and popularity of the story and photo that Coulter shared, the photographer decided to help a friend start a fundraiser in honour of the Dudu family.
“We’re hosting a fundraiser on Oct.27 in Guelph to raise money for the Refugee Lifeline run by the Muslim Society of Guelph,” Coulter said. “Proceeds will all be going to the Refugee Lifeline which supports the arrival and settlement of privately-sponsored Syrian refugees in Guelph and surrounding areas.”
Coulter also spoke about how the viral story promoted positivity and a sense of community around the world.
“The best viral stories are the ones that make people feel good,” Coulter said. “I think stories like this remind us that we’re all in this together, that small acts of kindness can make an enormous impact that can cause a ripple around the world, and that as Canadians we are truly blessed and should do whatever we can to pass those blessings on to other people.”
To donate to the fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/syriarefugeetailor.