INDEPENDENT COUNCILLOR Mahbub Alam saw the seasonal break as a chance to take a few days rest and recuperation from his busy schedule. He and eleven family members booked up a holiday cottage in the village of Rhayader, Powys, in Wales and headed off for a few days of peace, quiet, hillside walking and… getting a bit lost.
A healthy walk on Boxing Day left the family uncertain about the way back to their holiday cottage. As night – and the temperature – began to fall, the group of tiring Muslims took the risk of knocking on a stranger’s door to ask for help.
Cllr Alam told Wales Online, “It was around 8pm and we ended up at the wrong house whilst looking for the cottage we had rented. It was already quite dark and we were getting slightly nervous. To make matters more anxious my family was easily identifiable as Muslim and we were also being accompanied by my cousin’s family as well.”
Fortunately, Cllr Alam & Co were to meet some traditional Welsh hospitality. “The couple living at the house realised we were lost and invited us into their lovely home. The gentleman knew of the cottage we were looking for and drew me a map,” Cllr Alam explained. The couple had been enjoying their evening meal, but interrupted their dinner to help the strangers.
However, the townies’ problems were not all over. As Cllr Aslam watched the map being drawn, his cousin went to turn their minibus round – which then became stuck in the mud. Cllr Alam presumed he would have to call out a rescue service – but the kind Welsh stranger came to his aid once more. He tied up the minibus to his own 4×4 and, with a bit of pushing from Cllr Alam and his family, the minibus was set free.
The visitors were able to drive off and find their holiday home. Reflecting on the kindness he had experienced, Cllr Alam commented, “People should feel free to travel but a lot of Muslim families feel they can’t because of the negativity. But I have had many good experiences like this and it’s about time we started sharing our good experiences.” He added, “After meeting such amazing people I have no doubt that, regardless of race, culture or creed, we all share a common humanity, which can make the world a better place – if we all put in the effort.”