The Heroes of the NYC Subway
Our friends over at Expectful do more than empower parents and parents-to-be through meditation aimed at giving a new life the BEST start in life. They remind us, in a time when most other sensory input seems to highlight the opposite, that love is, and will always remain the most powerful instrument of our emotional ensemble. This story of theirs will warm your heart and is a great reminder that a small gesture of kindness and humanity ripples through time, perhaps down generations to come. Thanks Anna, for reminding us the glass is half full!
Article by Anna Gannon
I’ve sat on this post for quite sometime wondering when, if ever, I would share it with the world. But, in the wake of the political events these last few weeks and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve realized that now more than ever, we need to be reminded of the things that unite us as human beings.
This story is about 15 strangers of different genders, ethnicities, and cultures who literally stood up for kindness so I could sit down while I was pregnant.
If you have ever rode the New York City subway, you have most likely seen a lot of the good and bad that humanity has to offer. Over the past six years riding the train, I have seen my fair share of love, aggression, joy, and frustration. I have witnessed fist fights, crazy dance routines and standing ovations. But, it wasn’t until I became pregnant last year that I saw a new category of humans that ride the subway:
When I was pregnant, I read numerous articles written by other expecting women about their disgust for all the times people didn’t stand up for them on public transit. When I read these posts, there was a part of me that understood their anger. After all, it’s not exactly a cakewalk being pregnant… and when you sit down there’s a giant sense of relief.
And if I’m being completely honest, for a while during my pregnancy, I too started to feel resentment towards the people who weren’t standing up for me. At five months pregnant, I had a belly that to me could no longer be mistaken for a burrito baby and I hadn’t once had someone offer me their seat.
Until one day, when someone did…
In the middle of rush hour, on a crowded train, a young man (pictured above) sprung up, apologized for not seeing me sooner and offered me his seat with a giant smile. He didn’t even ask if I wanted to sit, he just got up and insisted that I did.
When I sat down, I looked at him with complete amazement. Here was this man who was kind to me just for the sake of being kind. Suddenly, I didn’t see all the people that didn’t stand up, I just saw him.
It was that moment that I decided I wanted to rewrite what it’s like to be a pregnant woman riding the NYC subway. Not to dismiss or disregard what other woman have went through, but instead to shed light on the people who are standing up instead of the people who aren’t. In short, I wanted to shift our focus off of the negative and onto the positive.
So, that day at five months pregnant, starting with that young man, I asked to take a picture of everyone that stoodup for me. This was a way for me to document the faces of the heroes of the subway, of the people who are putting others before themselves and for the people that did something compassionate for my baby before she was even born.
In sharing this with all of you, I hope to bring awareness around not only standing up to offer pregnant women or elderly people a seat, but for standing up for anyone that you think could use a seat more than you. Maybe it’s the construction worker who has been working outside all day in the blazing sun or the tired waitress who has been on her feet since 5am. It doesn’t have to be a big belly or a cane that makes you jump from your seat. It can just be that your human instinct tells you that person could need it more than you.
Simple acts of kindness create ripple effects and the more we can focus on the good things we can do for each other, the more compassion and love we can spread into the world.