People Are in Love With This Photo of a Young Black Man Helping a Fearful, Elderly White Man Down an Escalator

The elevator entrances and exits

People Are in Love With This Photo of a Young Black Man Helping a Fearful, Elderly White Man Down an Escalator

While others watched the man become anxious, Alonzo Johnson offered his arm.

Published June 22, 2017

A viral image of a young man assisting an elderly person down an escalator at a Massachusetts mall has turned 23-year-old Alonzo Johnson into a Facebook sensation, reported Mass Live.

On Thursday, June 15, Johnson was at the Holyoke Mall, where he saw a crowd of people standing around a hesitant 83-year-old at the top of an escalator. After the 23-year-old heard two women talking with the elderly man, who said he had escalator anxiety because of a past experience, Johnson offered his assistance. 

When Johnson held out his arm and helped the man down the escalator, Paula Accorsi Picard, one of the two women, took a photo from behind and posted it to Facebook. In addition to the photo, Picard wrote a detailed caption calling the touching moment, "A little redemption for the suffering human soul."

  1. "A little redemption for the suffering human soul 😊The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on. 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. Whoever this young man is, YOUR FAMILY RAISED YOU RIGHT! THANK YOU! So, please look for the silver linings - as I was so fortunate to witness this evening," Paula Accorsi Picard wrote on the post. 

  2. The photo received over 400,000 likes and 25,000 comments about Johnson's kindness

    While the two rode the escalator, Johnson spoke with the unidentified elderly man to keep his mind off his anxiety. He complimented the old man on his red and white baseball cap, sport shirt and shorts.

  3. Johnson attributes his kindness to his mother, who raised him to always do the right thing

    "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," Johnson told Mass Live. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: 00ne/Getty Images)


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