Abdallahs reveal forgiven driver has come to Christ

Danny and Leila on prayer and the power of forgiveness

Leila and Danny Abdallah have revealed that the drug-affected driver who killed three of their children on a footpath in 2020, Samuel Davidson, has become a Christian in prison. He is reading his Bible daily and talking to other prisoners about Jesus.

Danny and Leila will tell about 500 people gathered at the Australian National Prayer Breakfast in Parliament House in Canberra next Monday that it was their witness of forgiving their children’s killer that changed Samuel’s life.

“I spoke to Samuel, the driver, and asked him, ‘What made you become a Christian?’” Danny told Eternity.

“He goes, ‘Because I want what you have; your act of forgiveness saved my life in prison.’ He was isolated and when the inmates saw our act of forgiveness, they left him alone. He said ‘My life is finished’ and he was isolated and when he saw our faith, our forgiveness, this is what made him turn to God.

“He goes, ‘That depth of forgiveness is only through the grace of God.’ Now, he reads Scripture daily, and he can’t wait to get locked up in his cell to read the Bible and read more books about Christ.

“He says he feels like he’s like a monk in the mountain in his prison cell where he feels set free. [It’s like] when Paul wrote inside the prisons – he’s got Christ in him.”

“When you say, ‘I’m a forgiving person,’ you become forgiving eventually.” – Leila Abdallah

Leila and Danny Abdallah captured the hearts of Australia when they publicly forgave the driver who struck and killed Sienna Abdallah, 8, her siblings Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13, and their 11-year-old cousin Veronique Sakr on 1 February 2020. Davidson was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, driving erratically and speeding when he fatally struck the children. Three other children were injured but survived including the Abdallahs’ other daughter Liana, then 10, and their niece, Mabelle, and nephew, Tcharbel.

Then aged 29, Davidson was sentenced in 2021 to 28 years with a non-parole period of 21 years, which was reduced on appeal this year to a maximum of 20 years with a minimum of 15 years.


Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah. The Abdallah Family

Leila said she decided to forgive Sam before she even knew his name, through the power of the Lord’s Prayer.

“When I got on the scene, I prayed seven times, once for every child who was lying there – there were seven kids [hit in the accident]. I said, ‘I want you to leave that moment with me. I said, ‘Let’s pray this for Antony: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Let’s say it again for Angelina. Let’s say it again for Sienna,” she recalls.

“Praying is a form of communicating. So, when you keep saying these words, it becomes instilled in your subconscious mind and then when you get to that moment, that’s all I knew what to say. I couldn’t talk anything outside that.

“See, at a moment of despair, you can’t talk – you can’t say anything. And these are the words that came to me … Words are very powerful. They can be constructive or destructive. So, when you speak it into your life, it becomes part of your own identity. And when you say, ‘I’m a forgiving person,’ you become forgiving eventually by speaking it into your life and acting on a daily basis in the little things. And the Lord’s Prayer is a form of communicating with God. That’s why it’s so powerful.”

Danny said he would never have been able to forgive Samuel if not for the power of God.

Danny revealed that in the days after Samuel went to jail, he had been able to deflect the anger of a prisoner who wanted to harm Sam.

“About a week after Sam was locked up, I started getting messages from prison. Somehow, they got my number from a friend of a friend, and a guy who was angry with what had happened said, ‘Mate, he’s gone.’ And I sent him a link to a column in a newspaper about our forgiveness. And I said, ‘Leave him alone – he’s forgiven.’ And then he sent me emoji tears and he said, ‘You’ve broken me.’ Sometimes, when you forgive, it’s like a relief for someone,” says Danny.


“They don’t understand what it is to be forgiven by the creator of the whole world. How powerful that is to change lives – that’s what changes us, that forgiveness. There’s a step of forgiveness. And then look what happened to Sam.”

Danny said he would never have been able to forgive Samuel if not for the power of God.

“It’s only through God’s grace; he’s the one that’s carrying us through this because, if I was on the other side of the fence, I’d be saying, ‘Nah, no way,’” Danny said.

“Christ says, ‘Forgive 77 times‘ and then he says, ‘Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they do.’ I never understood that until I experienced what I’ve experienced. And that experience is what we want to share. Sometimes you’ve got to just have that faith in Christ and jump in those waters and then he’ll do the rest.”

“We’re pretty ambitious to do things around the prisons to share what forgiveness looks like.” – Danny Abdallah

Having witnessed the contagious power of forgiveness in a community led by their example, Leila and Danny started i4give Day and i4give Week on February 1, 2021, the anniversary of the crash. It has attracted bipartisan support from Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns. Now they want to bring the National Day of Forgiveness to parliament on February 1 each year.

“We’re doing things around the schools and we’re pretty ambitious to do things around the prisons to share what forgiveness looks like,” Danny said.

“Imagine on the 1st of February, everyone comes back to Parliament. ‘Let’s start fresh in the new year. Guys, last year was rough. We’re starting afresh day. Let’s all forgive one another.’”

Leila and Danny are writing a book about their experiences but may postpone launching it as Leila is expecting another child.

For more information and to register for the Australian National Prayer Breakfast on Monday 13 November, featuring guest speakers Danny and Leila Abdallah, visit nationalprayerbreakfast.org.

Related Reading

Related stories from around the web

Eternity News is not responsible for the content on other websites