LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A local teenager’s skill as a magician is the least surprising thing about him.

Dako is a sophomore in high school who waits tables at the Big Orange in Midtown and has a gift for card tricks. As for the cards he was dealt in life? You probably won't believe those, either.

"I was around, like, nine years old, and I bought a magic book, and I just loved everything in it," Dako Albeik said.

You might not see the most important part of a card trick. And if you watch Dako Albeik make a milkshake or perform magic for customers at Big Orange, you miss even more about him.

"My parents were just, like, we can go together later. We can take you there. But because of the war, we had to fast up the process," Albeik said.

He's an American citizen, but he grew up in Syria. His parents lost their green card when they returned to Aleppo, so they sent him and his sister here to find a better life. Because he has a younger brother who was born in Syria, they stayed behind.

"You just talk to them. Voice calls. We can't do video chat, because they don't have that fast of an internet,” he said.


Dako has a perfect GPA and works 35 hours a week. His goal is to earn enough to bring the rest of his family to the States, but he knows it will take several years to do that. He sends a portion of every paycheck to Syria, to help support his parents.

"I feel like I'm selfish. I'm not helping them, you know? And I try, but, like, I just can't. It's hard to expect a 17-year-old kid to do all that stuff, but I still try," he said.

He said his family has no electricity, no water, and they live with the constant fear brought on by years of civil war. So while he can't see his parents, he never loses sight of the gift they gave him, by letting him return to the US.

"If you tell me a year ago that this is your story, that's what's going to happen, I would be such, like, I wouldn't believe you. I would be like, you're joking," Dako said.

Dako said he wants to make his mark on the world of magic. For now, he leaves and impression and a smile on his customers, most of whom miss the biggest reveal of them all.

"When I do the trick, and people react to it, I feel like I did the impossible. That is correct, but now it's possible. You know, I did it. I did it some way,” he said.