After 14 long and painful years, both sides haunted by horror, the emotion was palpably raw.
Lisa French, a survivor of the 7/7 atrocities, sat opposite the father of bus bomber Hasib Hussain and uttered five words that moved him to tears: “I have forgiven your son.”
In turn, “broken-hearted” Mahmood Hussain apologised for the actions of his son, who killed 13 of the 52 commuters who died on July 7, 2005.
In an astonishing meeting, where they hugged and Mahmood gave Lisa a gift of potted flowers, both showed enormous compassion and understanding.
Lisa, 44, said that she had noticed Hussain boarding the No 30 bus in London’s Tavistock Square – and that he seemed polite.
She told Mahmood: “Even though he tried to kill me, over the years I have come to realise I have forgiven your son for what he did to me.
“I can’t forgive on behalf of the other survivors or families, but I want you to know I don’t have any malice.
“I wish we could have stopped him. The reason I wanted to meet you is to let you know that there’s at least one person on that bus who doesn’t hold your family responsible.
“I feel sorry for your son and how desperate he must have felt that day to do what he did.”
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