A New York Subway Just Gave The Internet Hope For America

by Christina Marfice

A Taoist, a Hasidic couple and a Muslim walk onto a train…

America honestly hasn’t been feeling all that American lately. We have an openly racist president, whose election win was an abrupt way to realize just how deep racism still runs in this country. He’s been trying to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He’s offered to trade healthcare funding for money to build a border wall to keep Mexicans out. Xenophobia is kind of the norm lately, and in a country founded by immigrants, it’s especially disheartening that “immigrant” has practically become a dirty word.

But the really great thing about America (yes, it’s already great — no need to make it that way again) is that it’s still full of good people who aren’t afraid of one another and embrace the diversity that’s always made us so strong.

Case in point: A now-viral photo taken by New York entrepreneur Jackie Summers on Easter. According to Buzzfeed, Summers was headed home from Easter brunch on the F train when he saw this:

“A Taoist (me) gives up his seat so a Hasidic couple could sit together,” he wrote. “They scoot over so a Muslim mother could sit and nurse her baby, on Easter Sunday.”

He added, “This is my America: people letting people be people.”

As of Monday, the post has been liked nearly 100,000 times and shared more than 70,000 times. It’s easy to see why — that photo is a perfect picture of the mixing pot of cultures this country is actually made up of, and none of those people are scared of each other. They’re just people.

“I thought the moment was special, so I snapped a quick photo and posted it to social media,” Summers told Buzzfeed. “I don’t think anyone on the train thought twice about it; in NYC we encounter every culture imaginable, and for the most part, we try to err on the side of basic decency.”

He added, “it seemed a good example of people being willing to coexist, given the current political climate and the divisiveness of the current administration.”

Summers also said he was “floored that common courtesy has become front page news, but hopeful that it resonated so deeply with so many.”

And the feedback he’s gotten has been almost all positive.

“Around 100,000 people from around the world have shared or liked this on Facebook,” he said. “It has a million impressions on Twitter. I got about two dozen hate mails and death threats. That’s a ratio I can live with.”