I went over to them when we had both been through our respective checkouts and asked the man: ‘Are you from Syria?’ He seemed a little surprised and answered ‘Yes.’ So I shook his hand and explained that I was so pleased that they had managed to reach a place of safety away from the horrors they’ve been experiencing for so many years.
‘No speak much English,’ he said with a worried frown.
‘Do you know what “welcome” means?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ he said with a beaming smile.
‘Good man. That’s all you need to know.’
There was something mildly amusing about it, but it was touching too. And I’m sure he understood pretty much exactly what I meant because welcoming body language isn’t difficult to read wherever you come from. It’s one of those universal gestures which remind us that we’re all just human beings, and that the word ‘humanity’ comes from the same root. And I hope we all had a better day for the little piece of connection which passed between us. I know I did.