have fun with his friends.”
As she sat on the sidelines, Fatima said that O’Hara teachers approached her because they thought she was a student, sitting by herself.
“They asked me what school I went to, because they didn’t recognize me as an O’Hara student,” laughed the youthful-looking mother. “Crystal Room staff thought I was at my high school prom too. It was all flattering and unexpected.”
As word spread that Nassir had brought his mother as his prom date, students wandered up to her to see if it was true.
“When I told my friends that I brought my mom to the prom, they were all like ‘No way,’” Nassir said proudly. He had told no one of his special guest in advance. “At first, none of my friends believed me. Then they saw her and said, ‘Woah, are you serious? She looks so young’ and I told them that she gets that all of the time.”
“The kids were great,” Fatima recounted. “They all thought the whole thing was pretty cool. Going to senior prom with Nassir more than made up for missing my own prom. I had so much on my mind back then and it just wasn’t important to me, to be honest. At Nassir’s prom, however, it was different. It was all about just having an enjoyable time for us both.”
Fatima said her son was a “wonderful” and “attentive” date, “a really sweet guy,” making sure that she didn’t feel awkward and that she truly enjoyed herself. Her dress had a long train on the back and she said that Nassir lifted it off the floor and carried it behind her, everywhere she went. He brought her beverages to the table and “couldn’t have been more of a gentleman.”
“The prom probably would have been better with my peers, but it was a wonderful night, one that we will never, ever forget,” Fatima said. “I loved looking at all the beautiful outfits that the kids wore. The girls’ dresses were just gorgeous, really couture looking. The guys looked really nice too.”
When the prom ended, mother and son went home, thinking that, except for their fond memories, their prom experience was over. In the meantime, their photos and videos were going viral.
The very first photo and blurb about the generational couple received 6,700 retweets. From there, the momentum kept building. The Facebook Live video got almost 3,000 views, the Knox video got almost 4,000 views, the “Good Morning America” post got 31.7 views and the most staggering was the BET website posting, which received 2.5 million views. According to Fatima, GMA told her that their interview has been the most retweeted taping of 2018 thus far.
In the past two weeks, the mother and son have done interviews on Fox News, Fox 29, BET and “Good Morning America” and have been written about on Yahoo!, The Shade Room, The Washington Post and by numerous bloggers and vloggers. Fatima said that every time she checks, her inbox has messages from around the world.
“In addition to being the talk of Chester and the talk of O’Hara,” Fatima said incredulously, “suddenly we were the talk around the world. People wrote me from all over the United States, plus Morocco, India, England, South Africa — you name it — letters are coming in from every corner of the earth.”
The young mother, who enjoys her career helping to build helicopters for the military, will soon launch her own interior design company. She said that women from around the world told her that reading the mother/son prom story was inspirational and touching.
“So many people who never went to their prom, for all kinds of reasons, got in touch with me,” Fatima stated. “Teen mothers wrote and older women who were once teen mothers reached out. The younger moms told me, ‘People say we will never amount to anything because we became pregnant so young. Someone like you is an inspiration.’ This kind of letter is what made me feel really good about the publicity because I am normally a private person and not used to this type of attention.”
One mother in Northeast Philadelphia wrote with concern that her own daughter, who attends an all-girl high school, may not have a prom date and, therefore, will have to miss her prom. Mother and son discussed the situation, and now that he saw how much fun that a prom can be, Nassir offered to escort the student to St. Hubert’s Senior Prom on May 5.
“I want her to have a good time at her prom, like I did,” the friendly soon-to-be –again prom date said.
With only a little over a month left before graduating, Nassir is still undecided where he will attend college next year, but hopes to study communications and have a career in music production, television or business.
“My high school years at O’Hara have been great,” Nassir said, smiling. “I have met a lot of friends and will leave here with a ton of good memories — especially the good time that I had at my senior prom.”
Fatima Faruq and her son Nassir Al-Faruq stand outside their Chester home next to the black Mercedes which they rode in to the Cardinal O’Hara High School Senior Prom.