Lifestyle & Human Interest

Stranger's Act of Kindness for Mother Who Lost 7 Children in Deadly House Fire Goes Viral


One of the unwritten rules that gets drilled into you when you first learn to drive is to not pick up strangers. Hitchhikers have featured in some grisly true-crime tales far more frightening than any fiction.

Sometimes, though, you see a person in need on the side of the road and decide that rule is worth breaking. One woman from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, did just that — and is very glad she did.

The account shared by Casey Lee Martin on Facebook started out like an all-too-typical critique of a service provider.

“Metro Transit driver that was on Joseph Howe Drive at approximately 10am this morning, shame on you,” she began.

I was the car ahead of you stopped at the red light and could see you watching a lady and two kids running as fast as they could to catch your bus. They were maybe two bus lengths away and instead of waiting an extra 10 seconds, you closed your door and left the stop.”

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That’s a sad and frustrating situation, no doubt. Most motorists would have shaken their heads, turned the radio up a little louder and driven on.

However, Martin decided to do something more. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, she stopped to pick up the woman and children.

“I know that feeling,” she said. “I’ve been there, I’ve been a mom with a child taking a bus and there’s nothing worse than missing it, so I pulled over.”

The trio happily got into the air-conditioned car, thankful to be out of the summer heat. As they chatted, the woman explained to Martin that the children didn’t actually belong to her.

She also stated that they were on the way to the hospital to visit her husband, a man who’d gotten badly burned. That was when the pieces fell into place for Martin.

She realized that she had Kawthar Barho in her car. That name likely doesn’t ring any bells for American readers.

But plenty of Canadians will recognize it. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Barho, her husband and her seven children fled from Syria in 2017, settling in Halifax.

Life looked bright for the refugees. But on Feb. 19, a raging fire broke out in the house in the middle of the night.

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“It happened all so fast,” neighbor Danielle Burt said. “The house went up really quickly.”

Barho’s husband, Ebraheim, got horribly burned while trying to save his children from the fire and ended up in critical condition. Sadly, his attempts to save his kids failed.

All seven of the children perished in the conflagration, leaving the family and community heartbroken. So when Martin understood who she was driving, it floored her.

“When I realized who she was, it truly broke my heart knowing everything that she’s been through and that she was just trying to go for a Sunday visit to see her husband and that the bus pulled away on her,” she said. “You really never know where that bus is taking them.”

She added, “In this case, she was going to visit her husband in the ICU, so I thought it was just some food for thought if nothing else.” Readers of her Facebook post agreed, sharing it more than 5,000 times.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Martin for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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