A 29-year-old man captivated Turkey on Tuesday with his optimism and hopeful attitude despite all the misfortune he has endured.
In a viral video, an unseen person asks Hasan to introduce himself and tell his story. The young man then begins – with a smile – telling how he ended up on the streets after his grandmother, whom he was living with, passed away.
"I have been living on the streets since I lost my grandmother a year and a half ago. Sometimes I sleep at a motel when I have the money, under a warm blanket and take a shower. But it doesn't happen often as I can only afford it once a week maybe, still, I'm grateful," Hasan said, as he explained that he earns what little he has by selling napkins, a common way to get by among Turkey's impoverished citizens.
What helped Hasan win the hearts of all those who watched the video, was his response to the question of whether sleeping on the streets upset him.
"It's the loneliness that makes me sad. Yes, the rough conditions can make you upset, but God tests us. I believe God is testing me and he wouldn't burden me with more than I could carry... I believe my life will turn around one day, I will have a job, a house and a regular life, I really believe that. God will smile upon me," Hasan said, still keeping a smile and speaking in a hopeful tone. He went on to explain how he sleeps next to a subway ventilation shaft to warm himself up during the frigid Ankara nights.
Hasan then explained how his homelessness effects his ability to find a stable job.
"When we start talking it always starts great, but as soon as they learn that I'm homeless, the interviews end there. They always say they decided to go with another applicant," he says, as he urges people to leave their prejudices about homeless people.
As millions of Turkish social media users shared Hasan's video, it didn't take long before an online campaign appeared, calling all hands on deck to help Hasan get back on his feet.
And like the good endings of cliché Hollywood movies, prominent businessmen and officials rushed to Hasan's help. Ankara Gov. Vasip Şahin, Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş and singer Haluk Levent all said they got in contact with Hasan and he would be in good hands.
While Hasan's story came to what for now looks like a happy conclusion, some people were still left pondering – what about the unheard Hasans of Turkey?
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