From Iraq to Egypt to the American Dream

By Brian Poland
May 11, 2016
Jalal Almomar eating ice cream on the Bentonville square

It was an early morning in 2005, and Jalal Almomar was driving to his job with the United Nations in Baghdad. A bullet came screaming through his windshield. He was unharmed, but definitely shaken.

“I knew my family and I had to flee because extremists were everywhere,” Jalal explained. “Our lives were in danger, so we left quickly. So quickly, in fact, that many belongings – including my own wedding photos – were left behind.”

The Almomars fled to Egypt and, by 2009, made the decision to put down roots in the United States. But the American dream didn't immediately show itself. Even though he had two college degrees, Jalal quickly realized he was starting over. 

“We showed up in Michigan, without a car and without really knowing how we were going to make a living,” Jalal said. “But what I did have was ambition. I knew my degrees weren’t going to translate, but I needed to move forward. I just needed someone to open the door to give me that chance.”

Jalal spent the next six months walking as far as his legs would carry him, often times through the snow, to hand his resume to company after company. He kept his fingers crossed, and eventually, Walmart called.

“That call meant everything,” said Jalal, who gained U.S. citizenship in October 2014. “A Walmart store gave me a job working in its garden center. I was so thankful because that job allowed me to start providing for my family again. I was ready to start working my way up and, through its Lifelong Learning education programs, I realized I was going to have every opportunity to do so.”

Jalal used his ambition to not only earn promotions working in his store, but tapped into Walmart’s partnership with American Public University and earned his MBA in Global Business Management. As part of his MBA, Jalal interned with Walmart’s innovation department, and recently graduated from our Replenishment Leadership Program. He has transitioned to the corporate office in Bentonville, Arkansas, where he now works as a replenishment manager. And, with support through the Walmart Dependent Scholarship Program, his children are pursuing their own college degrees.

“All I needed was a chance, and Walmart gave that to me and so much more,” Jalal said. “It helped me realize the American dream is alive and well.”