In a jaw-dropping turn of events, Hollywood megastar Will Smith reached out to Mamadou Safayou Barry, the Guinean man who undertook a remarkable 4,000km (2,500 mile) cycling journey across Africa to reach university.
Smith, moved by Barry’s inspiring journey, initiated a heartfelt video call to Cairo, where the determined student is currently studying. During the call, Smith expressed his deep admiration for Barry’s efforts and generously gifted him a new bike and a laptop.
The Men in Black star, who discovered Barry’s epic trek through a BBC Instagram post last September, emphasized his desire for the world to hear the incredible story of resilience and determination.
In a short film posted on Smith’s YouTube channel, Barry was visibly shocked and excited to be speaking with the renowned actor.
“I don’t know how to thank you Wallahi [I swear]! I don’t know how to thank you,” exclaimed Barry upon learning about the thoughtful gifts.
Smith’s publicity team, touched by Barry’s odyssey, reached out to the BBC after the initial story had been published, expressing their interest in connecting with him.
Last May, the 25-year-old Barry embarked on his arduous journey from Guinea to Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar University, facing challenges such as arrests and detentions along the way. Despite the hardships, Barry’s luck turned when a journalist shared his story online, prompting generous individuals to fund a flight for him to Egypt.
Upon reaching Cairo, Barry was not only accepted into the university with a full scholarship but also received a surprise call from the iconic Will Smith, who imparted words of wisdom about committing to a journey.
In addition to the bike and laptop, Smith also donated vouchers, allowing Barry the opportunity to either visit his family in Guinea or have them travel to him.
The unexpected gesture has left Mamadou Safayou Barry still in shock, reflecting on the surreal experience of being in a video call with the legendary Will Smith.