The Kindness of Strangers

by Christopher Paul on February 17, 2014

Bill Hayes, writing for The Virginia Quarterly Review, on the kindness of strangers found in New York City’s Subway:

While waiting for a 4/5 one mercilessly humid summer afternoon last summer, I found unexpected refuge from the suffocating heat under a gigantic fan installed in the ceiling at Union Square. I’d never noticed it before. But there I stood, gratefully, as if in the final leg of a car wash, my sweat-drenched clothes getting a jet drying.

It was near that same spot on an equally hot day that I saw a young woman faint just steps from the platform’s edge. She wilted in slow motion, but at the exact opposite speed two people came to her aid. By the time I reached the scene, she was in very capable hands, literally. There was a man who turned out to be a doctor cradling her head, and at her side, holding her hand, was a preternaturally calm woman who looked like a yoga instructor. When the fainted girl came to, she looked terrified and confused, but the calm woman calmed her and the doctor doctored her, and in due time the two walked her outside for some fresh air.

There are other examples he lists – like the woman who joined him making sure a distraught person didn’t hurt himself and got home safely – that just reenforce, to me anyway, that there is no better city in the world in which to live.

This article is the last of a series of four posts and every one is worth reading. The first one is here.

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