START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Sleeping Stranger Subway Picture On Q Train Defines Empathy And Is A Lesson In Being Good


Health & Wellness  (tags: kindness makes the world happier, sleeping man on subway )

Beth
- 293 days ago - youtube.com
When Isaac Theil let a sleepy stranger take a little catnap on his shoulder, it was because "I simply remembered the times my own head would bop on someone's shoulder because I was so tired after a long day," he recounted to Tova Ross of Tablet Magazine.



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Comments

Beth S. (326)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 1:36 pm
This man has it.

When Isaac Theil let a sleepy stranger take a little catnap on his shoulder, it was because "I simply remembered the times my own head would bop on someone’s shoulder because I was so tired after a long day," he recounted to Tova Ross of Tablet Magazine.

Another subway rider was so struck by Theil's nonchalant empathy that he snapped a picture and put it on Reddit, from which it was then posted to Facebook by Charidy.

Redditor Braffination wrote, "Heading home on the Q train yesterday when this young black guy nods off on the shoulder of a Jewish man. The man doesn't move a muscle, just lets him stay there. After a minute, I asked the man if he wanted me to wake the kid up, but he shook his head and responded, 'He must have had a long day, let him sleep. We've all been there, right?'"

Theil himself has been completely surprised at the attention he's received for his small act of kindness, as the photo has been shared over 20,000 times on Facebook.

“Maybe the photo wouldn’t have become so popular if people weren’t seeing a Jewish man with a yarmulke and a black man in a hood, and because they might not necessarily correlate the two,” speculated Theil to Tablet. “But there is only one reason that I didn’t move, and let him continue sleeping, and that has nothing to do with race. He was simply a human being who was exhausted, and I knew it and happened to be there and have a big shoulder to offer him.”

Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield, president of The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, was moved by Theil's recollection of his own fatigue as an explanation for his kindness, and told The Huffington Post that it was a perfect demonstration of human empathy. Hirschfield said, "To be able to draw on past hardship to soften our hearts towards others is one of the most repeated commandments to the Jewish people, and is the core of many spiritual traditions."

“I would love for people to use this as a lesson to just be good to each other,” Theil said to Tablet.

Seconded.
 

Yvette S. (31)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 1:42 pm
Great ;)
 

Allan Yorkowitz (452)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 3:03 pm
Human kindness is still existant.
 

Hilary S. (45)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 3:18 pm
a propos this tale of ordinary kindness, i do urge you to take a look at another delightful story:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/11/how-new-yorkers-reacted-when-a-stranger-slept-on-them-in-the-subway/281806/
 

Madhu Pillai (22)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 3:37 pm
Noted
 

Natasha Salgado (520)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 4:08 pm
And i thought all humanity was lost---there's a glimmer of hope still.
 

Sheri Schongold (6)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 4:14 pm
Thank you for reminding me there are some very kind people in the world.
 

Beth S. (326)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 4:17 pm
I just saw those pictures, Hilary. Wow, what a variety of reactions! Some of them, the people that just smiled and inside said, "okay." Those were beautiful. It's good to know -- like Natasha said -- there is some humanity still around. Thanks for posting that.
 

bob m. (32)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 4:47 pm


the best things in life are so often free .. someone loved us first.. we have that path in our hearts if only we would not run from it.
 

Elisa F. (236)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 5:42 pm
So Beautiful. Thanks, Beth. I wanted to send you another star but I wasn't able to. Later this evening, I'll send more :)
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 8:57 pm
Thank you for the sweet story! There are countless kind people.
 

Ondine J. (133)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 9:03 pm
Noted, great story, happy to finally read something that makes me smile. Thanks Beth
 

patrica and edw jones (190)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 12:39 am
I love this story Beth. It gives me hope that there is still that element in us that allows us to feel empathy for someone in need.
 

Robin T. (14)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 1:09 am
"He was simply a human being who was exhausted, and I knew it and happened to be there and have a big shoulder to offer him.”

No matter the colour of our wrapping, no matter the sounds we make, no matter our beliefs, we are all the same inside, we are all human beings.

Thank you Beth for bringing this great story to our attention.
This together with the story of the NYPD Officer who bought shoes for a homeless person certainly go a long way to restoring my faith in humanity.
 

Berny p. (23)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 4:02 am
mary reyes GET OFF THIS SITE AND STOP ARNACKING PEOPLE ON CARE 2
 

Berny p. (23)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 4:03 am

MAY BE THERE IS HOPE FOR MEN KIND AFTER ALL!
 

Kaileen Reynolds (55)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 4:06 am
An example for all of us. Thanks so much for sharing.
 

Lona Goudswaard (68)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 4:15 am
Very moving video which shows that people are just people and through empathy all can relate to each other. Isaac Theil himself notes his surprise at the attention the video got on Facebook. For him it had absolutely nothing to do with him being Jewish and the other man black, but thinks that is why it became so popular and which seems makes him a little uncomfortable “But there is only one reason that I didn’t move, and let him continue sleeping, and that has nothing to do with race." It's rather sad to think that this video would have never been made if it had been just two Jewish men or two black men. Just simple empathy for your fellow man isn't noteworthy, it seems and yet there is so little of it going around.
Thank you Beth, for sharing this story.
 

Joan H. (20)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 5:18 am
Great article. Thanks Beth!
 

June Bostock (46)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 7:47 am
Thanks Beth.
 

Ms Noting Commentator (22)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 6:20 pm
This is an extremely selfless and humane act. It is nice to know that some of us are still trying to preserve our humane feelings for one another in this ever increasing numb and indifferent society.
 

Carol Dreeszen (364)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 9:21 pm
Boy can I ever relate to that! Very sweet of that man to lend a shoulder to sleep on!! :-)
 

Ben B. (39)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 10:40 pm
Beautiful story, thanks Beth for posting.

Been there, felt that; ...there is still hope in and for this world!
 

Neill Abayon (721)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 11:08 pm
I don't remember how many times that happen to me. I used to travel a lot on PUV's and it's just easy to offer someone to lean on knowing they're tired. Thanks for sharing this.
 

SuSanne P. (182)
Friday November 29, 2013, 7:23 am
Thank you Beth and Patricia for the road map. Such simple acts of humanity puts CIVIL back into Civilization at t he very least. It is unfortunate that people are so disconnected, that a story like this would make it to the papers rather then being the normal response. What about "Brotherhood to Man"? (Lennon) A Heartwarming story.
"WHEN OTHERS ARE MOVED...TO KINDNESS"
 

SuSanne P. (182)
Friday November 29, 2013, 7:28 am
Robin T shares...
" goes a long way to restoring my faith in humanity". I couldn't agree more!
Natasha shares...
"And i thought all humanity was lost---there's a glimmer of hope still". Ditto!
 

SuSanne P. (182)
Friday November 29, 2013, 7:39 am
Thank you Hilary S. I was pleased that "Many go with it."
"..... reactions from fellow-travelers that range from the annoyed to the confused to the amused. Many go with it".
THE BLOND TOWARDS THE END wouldn't be among a friend of mine! LOL
 

bob m. (32)
Friday November 29, 2013, 8:38 am


Love never fails.
 

Helen Porter (40)
Saturday November 30, 2013, 4:19 am
I remember when I was homeless.

My head would bob.
 

Michael A. (29)
Monday December 2, 2013, 12:51 am
Thanks!
 

Debra Tate (17)
Friday December 6, 2013, 2:47 pm
We need more people like Isaac Theil with such big hearts! My hats off to him and his random act of kindness. What a guy!
 
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story


Loading Noted By...Please Wait

 

 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.