Mahmoud was my driver during my time in Shiraz. Perhaps the most colorful man I’ve ever met. He speaks English in simple phrases, which always involve his name, such as “Mahmoud happy” or “Mahmoud love.” Often he just says “Mahmoud,” then points at me, and places his hands over his heart.

He is the most hospitable man I’ve ever met. If I needed to cross the street, Mahmoud became a crossing guard. He would not let me open my own car door, or my own bottle of water. At one time or another, it seemed that he offered to give me everything he owned. I once made the mistake of accepting his offer of cologne, then got sprayed eight times.

My fondest memory of Mahmoud was yesterday when we laid down to rest in a garden. Mahmoud had carefully prepared two beds using mats and blankets. I couldn’t fall asleep, so I decided to let Mahmoud rest, and went for a short walk by the river. When I looked back, Mahmoud had woken up, folded up both the beds, and was running to accompany me. 

(Shiraz, Iran)

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