New York News

Viral photo of man sleeping on subway stranger

Thursday, November 07, 2013

A picture of two strangers riding the subway has gone viral.

One fell asleep with his head on the other guy's shoulder.

In the melting pot that is New York, it's a young African American man asleep resting his head on a middle age Jewish man.

The picture, grabbed in a fleeting New York moment, captures both a lesson in humanity and the true nature of Isaac Theil.

"I was just trying to let the poor guy catch his zzz's as it were and it didn't think twice about it," said Isaac Theil, a subway rider.

Isaac in a life changing moment, was heading home to Ditmus Park riding the Q train on Halloween night when he encountered his fellow straphanger who nodded off right on his shoulder.

"I really did feel for this young man who was lying on my shoulder because I knew he was exhausted. I could feel, I felt his whole body on me," Theil said.

With the train now rocking the man deep into slumber, "And being the New Yorker that I am, I let the guy relax," Theil said.

For a good half hour, he never even saw the man's face hidden by the hoodie.

He doesn't even know the person who took the picture as the train pulled into his station.

"When I got off the subway, I made nothing of it, it was a New York moment," Theil said.

But for this retired accountant who raised three children and is helping to care for his granddaughter Ana, this is far more than a photo that has gone viral, but rather how we all can make a difference with a good deed.

"One good deed. Help somebody else. How fantastic can it be?" Theil said.

Isaac Theil is a better man for it.

"I'm humbled by it to be honest. I am very humbled by it," Theil said.

There is a tired straphanger somewhere who is also appreciative.

(Copyright ©2014 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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