You think you're lucky? Meet a man who has legal proof he is on his driver's license
A Moorhead man has the legal middle name Luckyboy, and it's fitting considering his luck as a 5-day-old who was struck by a bullet.
MOORHEAD — As we approach the time of year where all talk is on "the luck of the Irish" and we go in search of four-leaf clovers (if the snow would ever melt, that is), I'd like to introduce you to a man who has proof that he's one lucky guy. It's on his left arm and on his driver's license.
Meet Albert Luckyboy Dalmeida. Yes. Luckyboy. It's not his nickname. It's his legal middle name.
"How I got the name Luckyboy, that's a very interesting — traumatic — but interesting story. I actually got hit with a bullet as a child, on my left arm, right here," Dalmeida says as he points to the horizontal scar in his bicep area.
He was born in July 1990 in Monrovia, Liberia, and named Thomas Alfred Dalmeida. When he was just 5 days old, on July 29, 1990, 600 people were killed "just down the block" from where teenage mother Cecelia and baby Thomas were living. The Monrovia Church massacre would become known as the single-worst atrocity of the Liberian Civil War. From 1989 to 2003, 250,000 thousand Liberians, mostly civilians, were killed.
The Dalmeidas knew they had to flee their home.
"So then she decided we're going to take a trip, and she was going to take me with her and put me on her back," he says. That's when 5-day-old Thomas was struck with the bullet as he rode in a carrier on his mom's back. Shortly after that horrific incident, and the lucky break that it wasn't worse, Cecelia decided her son's middle name should be changed to Luckyboy.
Despite his injuries, Dalmeida and his mother made it all the way to Ghana, more than 700 miles from Monrovia, where they were safe.
Like 800,000 other Liberians, they left their country during the civil war — and like 800 others, the Dalmeidas ended up in Minnesota. His family, including his mother, father and siblings, moved to Brooklyn Park. After graduating from Champlin High School in 2008 and briefly attending college in Alabama, he moved to Fargo-Moorhead, where he now attends Minnesota State University Moorhead.
He is also employed at the Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency, where he works in the Weatherization department and helps low-income households save money on energy cost by making simple improvements to the home.
He wears a name tag which reads "Lucky," the name he likes to go by.
Dalmeida is also a father of two; a son named Emeras, who turned 1 in February, and daughter Reverie, who was born this past December. "Irish twins," he says with a smile.
Smiles come easily to Dalmeida — and that, he says, comes from his mother. He says she was even laughing when she told him the story of how he was shot.
"When she told me I'm just sitting there like, 'This is not a laughing story.' Like she was literally telling me how she's walking through bodies of people and was straight-faced because at that time, she had to have that strength for her child," Dalmeida says.
Sadly, Dalmeida lost his mom suddenly when he was just a teenager. But her story of bravery — carrying an injured newborn to safety in the midst of civil war — stays with Dalmeida, every time he sees his name.
"My name carries my mom's nature. She was like the calm version of me hyperactive energy when needed, but most of the time she was just always smiling" he says.
For more information about this story, including behind-the-scenes information (including who gave me this story idea — hint... a beloved former WDAY anchor), listen to our new "Back Then with Tracy Briggs" podcast. Check it out here or wherever you get your podcasts.