RIYADH: A Korean visitor to the Kingdom said he was left speechless by the hospitality and warmth he experienced during the country’s Founding Day celebrations on Feb. 22.
Moo Bin Lee, who was in the Kingdom for the second time, described the gracious and welcoming actions of the Saudis he met in the street that night.
“On the night of Founding Day, I was heading home and stopped by the gas station for some snacks,” Lee told Arab News. “I was so amazed by the different cars that pulled up with huge Saudi flags, blasting traditional music, and all the locals just gathered in their outfits talking amongst each other.”
He approached a group of young Saudis dressed in traditional attire and asked if he could make a video with them, which is when he met 18-year-old Abdullah Altoaimi, Abdullah Aljumaiah, and their friends.
He said they were so ecstatic when he asked them to make a group video that they went to their car to show him more about what traditional Saudi dress entailed.
Featured in the viral video that Lee posted to TikTok, the young Saudis were excited to share the celebrations with him and explained the importance of the cultural pieces.
Altoaimi and his friends then proceeded to take off the holsters that held their swords and dressed Lee in them.
“They went on to put the accessories on me so that I can experience for myself what it feels and looks like to be in a traditional Saudi dress.”
Lee took a picture with one of the young men and then tried to take off the items.
“I tried to take it off and give it back, but he said: ‘No, this is our gift. We only wish we can do more.’”
Altoaimi and his friends went on to explain their cultural duty to be hospitable and welcoming to any visitor in Saudi Arabia.
“I was speechless. This, for me, is what Saudi Arabia’s hospitality and pride in their country really looked like in its purest form,” said Lee.
When he reached out to them afterward and thanked them for making him feel at home on such a special day, Altoaimi replied: “This is my duty. Don’t thank me for my duty.”
Lee added: “The Saudi people are a perfect example of genuine, loving, and humble human beings who just want to show you more of their culture and the kind of people they are.
“Founding Day really helped me realize how much pride the Saudi people have in their country, and seeing everyone come together in such a beautiful way opened my eyes to why this day meant so much to each individual.”
He said that, throughout his travels around the world, he had never seen a country welcome him more than Saudi Arabia.
“The hospitality in Saudi Arabia simply can not be compared to any other country, and one can only find out by coming and experiencing this for themselves. As every day goes by in the Kingdom, I feel more and more at home each day and I appreciate that people do it out of the kindness of their heart.”
He added that he never had trouble interacting with locals, even with the language barrier.