Woman reaches out to hold the hand of intimidating, erratic man on bus
A few weeks ago, Ehab Taha was on public transit in Vancouver when a large man boarded the train. He was tall, seemed angry, and his movements were erratic. Taha noted all the passengers on the train seemed scared and were moving away from him.
Taha watched as an older woman reached out and offered her hand to the man. He took it, relaxed, and began to tear up. Taha captured an image of the woman and the other passenger holding hands.
“I saw the most incredible display of humanity on the sky train,” he begins his post. “A six foot five man suffering from drug abuse and\or mental health issues was being very aggressive on the bus with erratic movements, cursing, shouting, etc.”
He explains, “While everyone was scared, this one seventy year old woman reached out her hand, tightly gripping his hand until he calmed down, sat down silently, with eventual tears in his eyes.” Taha was moved to ask the 70-year-old woman what motivated her to reach out to such a man, while everyone else was staring in fear. “I’m a mother and he needed someone to touch,” the woman explained to him. Then she started to cry.
It’s a beautiful reminder to always try to see the humanity in someone. Clearly, it’s not always a great idea to reach out to someone who is acting erratically — but this woman had an instinct to do just that, and she was right. It was what he needed in that moment. She’s a mother, after all.
It’s one of the hardest things to do: reminding ourselves that at our core we are all human. We can’t always give people the benefit of the doubt: I rode public transit in NYC for over a decade and I could say with some amount of certainty that I would probably never do something like this. But it’s not about what I, or anyone else would do. It’s about appreciating the humanity of that moment and possibly learning something from it.
Taha ends with, “Don’t fear or judge the stranger on the bus: life does not provide equal welfare for all its residents.”