Not all elderly people are helpless by any means, but sometimes anybody from any walk of life could need a little help from a total stranger.
Here’s an act of human kindness that the photographer who captured the moment characterized as “A little redemption for the suffering human soul.”
That description might sound a little dramatic, but … it fits once you hear the story.
“The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on,” the photographer, Paula Picard, explains.
“It was clear he was feeling unsure and this young man offered the simplest kindness: an out-reached arm and a ‘can I help you on, sir?'”
This happened on an escalator at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
“He quietly started to explain to the young man that he had gotten stuck on an escalator once and was a little scared.”
Past trauma can absolutely ruin things, and a lot of malls don’t even have alternatives to escalators except for inconveniently located elevators that aren’t always readily apparent.
It must have been difficult for him to admit it.
“The young man gently offered an assurance, they looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment and the older man accepted his arm. Everyone else remained patient. So, so sweet to witness!”
That is wonderful.
And, for the record, the young man’s name is Alonzo Johnson.
Now, normally we’d be super harsh about a woman taking photos of perfect strangers in public.
And then posting them to social media.
These aren’t celebrities, they’re everyday people.
Remember that whole Alex From Target thing?
That wasn’t okay, it was a violation of a young cashier’s privacy.
That came to mind for this.
Worse, Picard shared that old man’s story of fear and infirmity.
But she explains why she felt that she absolutely had to share it.
And we get it.
“In about an hour, the evening news will air and we’ll be reminded of division, race wars, political mud-slinging, shootings and other heartaches.”
That’s all too real.
Even if we don’t force ourselves to sit through the news, it’s there on every platform of social media.
“But today, violence, race, age, politics and other social lines were blurred and one person simply helped another. I wanted to hug both of them.”
After that story, we felt the same way.
“Whoever this young man is, YOUR FAMILY RAISED YOU RIGHT! THANK YOU! So, please look for the silver linings — as I was so fortunate to witness this evening.”
We don’t automatically credit people’s upbringing for how they turn out.
After all, a lot of people turn out to be good despite their childhoods, not because of them.
But, from this encounter, Alonzo Johnson seems to be a good person in a world that too often manages to crush the good out of people.
That deserves respect.