Mohamed Dhinbil wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. and drives for Uber and Lyft until 9 am.
After a short break, he heads off to his next job at CenturyLink, where he's been a communications maintenance technician for 18 years.
Dhinbil says he lives to work because by he knows the harder he works, the more he can give to others.
“To me, it’s very important that a person wakes up every morning and work and support his family and his life and contribute to the community that you live in,” he told our affiliate KOMO News. “For me, work is life.”
Dhinbil came to this country as a Somali refugee in 1991 at the start of the brutal Somali civil war.
The year after Dhinbil fled the country, an estimated 350,000 Somalis died of disease, starvation or by violence from the war.
In March 2016, Dhinbil went back to Somali to visit. He knew the conditions there were bad, but nothing could prepare him for what he saw.
“I saw someone dying for thirst. I never imagined in my life I would see someone dying of thirst,” he says.
He says the images of suffering have haunted him ever since.
The village he grew up in, Shilavo, located on the Ethiopian border, had been ravaged by years of drought and famine.
He describes seeing people who would have been his neighbors, suffering in pain due to lack of food and water.
I saw someone dying for thirst. I never imagined in my life I would see someone dying of thirst.”
“How dehydrated that person was and at the same time just needed water to live,” he says. “Nothing else.”
As soon as he got back home to the U.S, he sprung into action.
“I came back I talked to family, friends and during 2 months period I raised over $16,000,” he says. “I was amazed. I was not thinking I would raise that much money.”
He used the money to buy the village a tanker truck, which he keeps a picture of in his pocket. Now he’s raising money for a well. He says he’s never going to stop working to help others for as long as he can keep working hard and making money to give away.
“Every month. Every single month I help people with my own money,” he says. “At least if I don’t send $300 back home, I send more than that. I was born to help people. I don’t know why. Someone called me last night a young guy and said I need 50 bucks to buy clothes. And I sent him. So it’s that easy. It’s that easy. Really.”
He says he's inspired by his son, who is graduating from the University of Colorado this year at just 19 years old.
“It is hard but sometimes when actually you have a mission and goals and you want to actually fulfill a responsibility as a Dad that’s what drives me,” he added.
Dhinbil says his son's next step will be attending medical school. He wants to be a doctor.
Dhinbil was featured by our Seattle affiliate KOMO News' in a weekly segment that highlights a local hero.