Earlier this week, 14-year old Ahmed Mohamed built a homemade clock to show off at his robotics club. He thought the invention might get the attention of his teachers — and it did, but not in the way that he had hoped. Ahmed's teachers thought it looked like a bomb and called local law enforcement. By the day's end, the middle schooler had been arrested and walked out of his school wearing handcuffs.
Of course, once law enforcement officials were convinced that his invention was, in fact, a clock, the teen was released. He was picked up by his parents before he ever saw the inside of a jail cell.
But a it doesn't change the fact that a young kid — a ridiculously smart young kid — was treated like a criminal for no reason other than his apparent love of electronics.
Fortunately, rather than shame, Ahmed is being greeted by the world with solidarity. The hasthag, #IStandWithAhmed exploded on Twitter, catching the eye of some fairly notable social media users:
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg rolls out the red carpet for Ahmed. (Photo: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)
And perhaps my favorite:
The folks behind Car Talk offer their typical humorous reply to the situation. (Photo: Car Talk/Facebook)
In addition to these offers, Ahmed received:
- A lifetime membership to the Dallas Astronomy Club
- A scholarship to NASA's Space Camp
- An invitation to visit MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab
- An invite to the telescope lab at UT Austin
- An offer to visit General Electric HQ
- A T-shirt that NASA astronaut Daniel Tani wore in space
In the end, this story is a good one for Ahmed. An incident that never should have happened in the first place may lead to a lifetime of unique opportunities. But more importantly, it will hopefully remind Ahmed that for every person who sees him only by the color of his skin, there are millions more who can see beyond it.