Young man’s random act of kindness is praised by thousands online after he helped an 83-year-old man down a shopping mall escalator.
Paula Accorsi Picard, of West Springfield, one of the two women, captured the gesture of kindness and posted a photo on Facebook. It shows the men from behind, Johnson’s left arm wrapped around the man’s right as they shared an escalator step for the journey downward. Her post included a description of the gesture she witnessed — “A little redemption for the suffering human soul.”
Alonzo Johnson stopped and decided to help a frightened elderly man down an escalator in a Massachusetts shopping mall last week.
He had spotted the senior citizen hesitating to step on to the escalator when he offered him his arm.
‘He looked very afraid and I thought maybe I could help,’ Johnson told Us Magazine.
Johnson said he didn’t know anyone was watching him when he asked the 83-year-old man if he needed any help at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside.
But the 23-year-old could never have predicted that his simple, random act of kindness would win him the praise of thousands of people online.
‘The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on,’ the Facebook post read.
‘It was clear he was feeling unsure and this young man offered the simplest kindness: an out-reached arm and a “can I help you on, sir?”.
‘He quietly started to explain to the young man that he had gotten stuck on an escalator once and was a little scared.
‘The young man gently offered an assurance, they looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment and the older man accepted his arm. Everyone else remained patient. So, so sweet to witness!
‘In about an hour, the evening news will air and we’ll be reminded of division, race wars, political mud-slinging, shootings and other heartaches. But today, violence, race, age, politics and other social lines were blurred and one person simply helped another. I wanted to hug both of them.’
Johnson said he never expected his actions to reach so many people.
“This is something I’ve never dealt with before and it’s so, like, humbling. But it’s a lot. But I’m embracing it. It’s something very unexpected. My family and I are constantly looking at the Facebook posts and seeing the attention,” Johnson said in a phone interview.
Johnson said he doesn’t consider himself extremely religious or spiritual, but does attend church with his mother, Cynthia Johnson, whom he said is scooping up the attention.
“I definitely believe in God. My Mom has me going to church, but my Mom is the reason for all of this. My Mom always tells us to be nice and do the right thing, you never know who’s watching. It’s really the way I was brought up and how I was raised,” he said.
Johnson has been inundated with praise on the original Facebook post.
‘So nice to see true human kindness for a change! God bless those two men!! Thank you young man for your random act of kindness… this is what life is all about!!’ one person wrote.
Another said: ‘Bravo. Thanks very much lending a helping hand and a listening ear and a kind heart and soul.’