Turkish gym gives Syrian refugee boy free lifetime membership

Mohammed Khaled, 12, working out at the gym.

A Syrian boy has been given a lifetime free membership at his local gym in Turkey, after a photo of him staring into the gym through a window went viral on social media.

Mohammed Khaled, 12, who works as a shoeshiner in the Adiyaman province in southern Turkey was pictured outside the centre with a footstool strapped to his back.

After the image went viral on social media, gym owner Engin Dogan tracked the boy down and offered him an all-access pass to the facility for a lifetime.

Mr Dogan said: “A boy was looking through the gym window wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his backpack.

“Our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here. And, we did it. He is one of our members now.”

Khaled was later pictured working out at the gym and he told the Turkish news agency Anadolu that he was pleased with the opportunity.

He said: “He found me and helped me.

“I had always dreamed of losing weight and now I believe I can do that by working out.”

Mustafa Kucukkaya, one of the gym’s owners, told Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah: “It affected me very much because we came from nothing and we did not have such a gym in our time.

“The Turkish people are very sensitive about this issue, I am very touched. I think we are doing something very good.”

The gym owners have been praised on social media for their compassion and generosity.

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