What would you do if while riding the subway during your usual commute, the tired guy next to you began to doze off on your shoulder? Would you push him away? Get up? Scream? Or would you cut him a break and let him snooze?
Lots of people, it turns out, would choose the latter.
After a photo of a man on New York City's Q train allowing a fellow subway rider to sleep on his shoulder went viral a few weeks ago, the story ended up getting national media coverage. The guy who snapped the picture with his smartphone, Mike Braff, said he did so to capture such a touching moment. “I was just so tickled that a New Yorker would let another New Yorker sleep on his shoulder,” Braff told New York's CBS 2 last week. The man who allowed himself to temporarily serve as a human pillow was 65-year-old Isaac Thiel, who didn't think he did anything special. “The guy’s exhausted, he’s put in a long day, and I said ‘Let him sleep,’” Thiel told the station. “He was sort of dead weight on my shoulder. I was fine. I had a seat. It didn’t bother me at all.”
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Now an online nonprofit group called Charidy is trying to show the world just how many people like Thiel actually exist, posting a feelgood video of a fedora-wearing fellow named Meir Kalmanson purposely falling asleep on other subway commuters and capturing their reactions. Sure, a few folks didn't want anything to do with the sleepy stranger, but many others simply smiled and let him happily nod off. (Kalmanson later chats with a few who went along with it and even compliments one man for being "comfortable," to which the rider responds, "thanks.")
"Inspired by a picture that went viral, we decided to see how many people would let a random person sleep on them on the subway," Charidy notes on its YouTube page, where the video had received nearly 25,000 views as of Thursday afternoon, a day after it was posted. "Here are the results, and the valuable lesson we learned."
Check out the video to see some average New Yorkers restore your faith in humanity just a little.