From: Arash Golbon [mailto:agolbon@XXXXX]
Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2015 4:14 PM
To: XXXX, Leonard
Subject: Thank you-Hamburg Germany 1986
Dear Professor XXXX,
I do not expect you to remember me, after all it has been almost 30 years. A very cold day in March of 1986 in Hamburg. That day a father and his son walked in to your consulate with very little optimism. We had just left Iran in hopes of getting a student visa to California. For me as a fourteen year old kid there were two choices, go to California to live with my aunt or go back to Iran and face possible death as in those days kid solders were used as a disposable commodity to clear minefields.
Going to middle school in Tehran in the height of Iran/Iraq war, I was worn out by the nightly bombings, and sadistic propaganda by the religious government. There was no future for me in that country but I was realistic about my chances of getting a visa to come to US. It was very slim. That morning when my father and I made our way to your consultant, the lobby was full of other other hopefuls. Some had come with files and files of papers , and some with their attorneys. I had come with my father and a newspaper article with pictures of dead kid soldiers in Iran. All waiting nervously for our turn, one by one made people their way to your window and one by one they were rejected. Some left in tears some cursing out loud. Then it was our turn.
Why on that day you decided to give me a visa, is still a debate between my father and I. Our general belief is because my father was honest and did not lie to you. “This is my son, he wants to go to US and finish his study and I can not tell you for certain he won’t stay there”. after he spoke to you, I remember my father running back to me saying, the consulate wants to talk to me in his office. That day we went back to our hotel with a new stamp in our passport, a US Visa. Like I said it has been almost 30 years but a month has not gone by where I have not thought about how I wanted to thank you. Unfortunately my father did not remember your name and State Department does not provide names of US Consulates. All until last week where my father while cleaning up found a piece of paper with your name on it. After that finding you was pretty easy.
So here it is 30 years later too late. Thank you for giving me a chance and thank you for changing my life. I did finish my high school studies and went to University, but just like my father had expected I decided to stay in US because I met my wife in college. We have been married for 15 years and have two daughters. I have attached three photo for you. First one is of me in Hamburg the day before my Visa, second one is the piece of paper with your name on it and last is a recent picture of my family.
From: “XXXXX, Leonard ” <XXXX@XXXX.com>
Subject: RE: Thank you-Hamburg Germany 1986
Date: August 27, 2015 at 9:47:51 AM PDT
To: Arash Golbon <agolbon@XX.com>
Mr. Golbon – What a nice letter. Thank you for writing. I have been busy preparing my materials for the start of our new Law School semester which began on Monday, of this week.
There is no need to thank me. As you indicated, I do not recall your particular case. I interviewed several hundred applicants while in Hamburg. However, It looks like I made a good decision in your case.
I am pleased to see you have a lovely family and have made the best of your life in the United States.
Keep up the good work, do something good for someone else, and give my best to your father.
Professor Leonard XXXXX