When it comes to commutes, most of us are just worried about getting where we need to go, but one college student took the time to think about someone else and now he’s got the whole world singing his praises.
Godfrey Cuotto is a 22-year-old student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He was headed home on a crowded bus last week when a man named Robert sat down beside him and asked to shake his hand. Cuotto wasn’t sure if the request was a joke at first, but he complied and Robert grasped his hand.
Robert, who is deaf and has cerebral palsy, kept holding on and didn’t seem to want to let go. Cuotto felt Robert was just looking for some comfort, so he let him stay there and offered his shoulder to lean on. The pair stayed that way until the bus’s final stop, and a fellow rider snapped a picture of their tender exchange:
The person who took the photo shared it on a Facebook page called Only In Hamilton and wrote, “I didn’t know if u can post this but I would liking [sic] to say thank you to the guy who was seating [sic] beside a special needs gentleman… He allowed him to hold his hand and find comfort well in a packed bus. It makes my day when I see stuff like that.”
Since the photo was posted, it’s racked up over 59,000 likes and almost 13,000 shares from people who are deeply moved by Cuotto’s random act of kindness. Despite all the attention, Cuotto says it was really no big deal. “He just needed comfort,” he told Huffington Post Canada. “I just allowed it. Like, what am I going to do? Sometimes you just have to put someone else’s needs above yours.”
When asked where he learned his sense of selflessness, Cuotto fulfilled every parent’s dream and gave all the credit to his mother. He says he was “raised by a queen” and that she’s the one who taught him generosity. I’m not sure who his mom is, but I’d like to ask her to please write a book on how to raise the most loving, sweet kids ever because she’s clearly an expert.
Few people would willingly hold hands with a stranger. Few people would even acknowledge a stranger at all on a crowded bus. Cuotto’s upbringing helped make him the sort of person who does both. His gesture is not only an inspiring act of kindness, but also a stunning reminder that the values we demonstrate to our kids really do make an impact.
You never know how the lessons you teach your kids are going to manifest themselves out in the real world. If we can take anything away from this amazing story, it’s that raising kids to understand the value of compassion and thoughtfulness really does impact the world. Cuotto’s mother should be extremely proud.