His American dream

After fleeing Syrian danger, senior works his way up McDonald’s management to work toward his goals


Jordin Baker

Saeed works on the fryer on Nov. 5. He started working at McDonald’s only three months after fleeing Syria and is now a manager at his store.

Just three months after arriving in America in December of 2016, Mahmoud Saeed applied for a job at McDonald’s on South East Street. He was a good employee, and he worked his way into a promotion in about a year and a half.

“I believe that I’m a hard worker, and when the staff saw that, they made me manager,” Saeed said.

As a Chef Manager, Saeed, a senior at SHS, is responsible for making sure the staff in the kitchen are performing their assigned duties, and he sometimes helps with customer service. These McDonald’s tasks have helped Saeed grow as a person and discover what his aspirations for the future are.

Despite his current success, Saeed came from a rough past in Syria, a nation that has been in an ongoing civil war since 2011.

“When I came to America it seemed safer, and I could see life and freedom all around me, unlike Syria,” Saeed said.

There’s one particular experience that occured in Syria that Saeed says has been engraved in his memory forever.

The sounds of rapid gunshots, bombs going off and screams of terror were only 20 feet away from the house Saeed was staying in back in Khartiah, Syria. Inside the house were 25 of his family members who all had different reactions to the events going on outside. Saeed says his heart broke the most when witnessing his mother and sister in a state of fear. They had to stay in one room for 24 hours. Those hours consisted of no sleep, tears and a gut-wrenching feeling of anxiety.

“It was probably the worst day of my life,” Saeed said.

Since that day, Saeed knew he had to take full control of his future. He was determined to work hard in order to achieve the successful life he dreamed of.

“Everybody in America has to work to make their future better,” Saeed said.

Along with his growing career, Saeed has to manage all of his academic responsibilities. He began attending SHS as a freshman barely knowing any english. As time went on, he says he began taking an interest in engineering, construction and management. His strong suit is math and Saeed feels that it was wise to go into a field where it was used a lot.

“I’m really good at math and I just decided to do something that works best with my skills,” Saeed said.
EL teacher Amy Peddie has known him since he first arrived at SHS. She admires him for his desire to help others and his self-motivation.

“One of the things that impresses me most about him is that even though he works full time, he always has time to help other people,” Peddie said. “Especially if they’re from another country, he’ll help translate for them.”

Mahomad Oyoun, Saeed’s friend, who is also a manager at McDonald’s, finds it beneficial to work with a friend who came from the same background.

“I like having a friend around because we can speak the same language and can help each other out,” Oyoun said.

Saeed is using his senior year to prepare him for his desired career. He’s taking classes such as economics and environmental science. Saeed also goes to a career center, C-9, every school day to practice and study construction, which is a big part of his preparation for his dream.

“After graduating college I would like to open my own construction company,” Saeed said.

Despite his rough past in Syria, Saeed has built a foundation for success in America. Saeed feels the future holds an endless amount of possibilities. He stays true to his belief that consistently working hard will take him anywhere he wants in life.

“You can reach any goal if you try your best and work hard for it,” Saeed said.