As we bustle about in our daily lives it’s easy to forget to “look up.”
Author Anne Wheaton of California was visiting New York City with her friend, Stephanie Kirchen, when she was reminded of the good that can come when we’re paying attention to those around us. After a day of exploring the city and enjoying the incredible cherry blossoms on a spring day, the two friends decided to take the subway to their next sightseeing destination.
As they headed down to catch the train, Stephanie says she looked around and suddenly couldn’t see Anne anywhere. When she did spot Anne and realized what she was doing, Stephanie couldn’t help but snap a picture of her friend.
“This is my friend [Anne] in a nutshell,” Stephanie later wrote on Instagram. “While running to the NY Subway, I turned around and she wasn’t there. She had taken the time to help this man up the stairs who was struggling with his cane. She took his arm and helped him to the top. She is all heart and I love her for it.”
Anne later explained that she always tries to walk with her head up just in case she spots someone who needs a helping hand. That day she had indeed spotted a shaky man with a cane who looked daunted by the sheer number of steep concrete stairs that lay before him.
“I saw him at the bottom of the stairs as we were heading down to get the subway,” Anne wrote. “He was struggling to put his foot up to the next step, teetering on the edge with his cane, and I was worried he was going to fall back. People were rushing past this man without even looking at him so I went to the bottom of the stairs where he had stopped to get his balance and asked if I could help him. He said yes, so I hooked my arm in his and we walked up together.”
“At the top, he looked me in the eye and told me ‘There’s so many people in this city, and no one ever stops to help. Thank you for doing this.'”
Anne says it was these words from the stranger that made her pause and reflect on this small act of kindness. For her, helping others when you notice them struggling is just what you do; yet for many others, it seems to be a foreign concept. Perhaps if we all opened our eyes and thought more about other people, the world would be a nicer place.
“You never know what people are going through so if you just look up instead of down, you can be there in small ways that have a huge impact on those who are struggling. Someday, you may be the person who needs help and if that happens, I hope there’s someone looking up so they can be the help you need.”
Normally when a friend shares a picture online that you didn’t even know she took, things can get ugly. Yet in this case, the photo Stephanie took of Anne serves as a life lesson for us all. Next time you find yourself in a crowded space, remember to look up.
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