Imagine this. A man sits down on a bus next to you. He holds your hand and cuddles up against you. You think it’s a prank, right? That’s exactly what 21-year-old Godfrey Cuotto of Hamilton, Ontario thought at first too.
The student was on his way home from work at a burrito restaurant when a man known as Robert sat down next to him and asked to shake his hand. Cuotto obliged, but Robert didn’t let go.
As it turns out Robert suffers from cerebral palsy and is deaf. He wasn’t looking to prank Cuotto, he was just looking for a little comfort. And, that’s exactly what the 21-year-old gave him. At first he was somewhat unsure as to what to do. But, then he took the man’s hand and held on. He continued holding on for the entire 30-minute bus ride. Throughout the ride Robert leaned on Cuotto, kissed his hands and hugged him. Cuotto told the Huffington Post Canada, “Sometimes you just have to be selfless and put someone else’s needs above yours.” Selfless is truly the word to describe Cuotto.
Cuotto didn’t hold on for the accolades or for anyone other than Robert – a man who he had never met before. The heartwarming action isn’t something that the college student says he comes by without help. Crediting his mum, Cuotto told the radio station Kiss 92.5 in an interview, “I was raised by a queen.”
When another bus-rider snapped a pic of the sweet situation it quickly went viral. Posting it on the “Only in Hamilton” Facebook page, the photo took the world by storm. Before Cuotto knew it he was social media famous for his good deed. With more than 12,000 shares (just from the “Only in Hamilton” page) and tens of thousands of likes, the picture clearly struck a major chord with many. Comments ranged from hearts and smiley emoticons to warm sentiments that spoke to the humanity of the photo. One Facebook user responded, “What a wonderful young man. You are an example of who we all should be.” Another noted, “Very rare to see such an act of kindness these days. So heartwarming.” Not only did the pic make its way to Facebook, but it also made its way into many readers’ hearts.
The photo also spoke to those with special needs and their families. One mum commented, “People like this kind young man restore my faith in humanity and give me confidence that my daughter with special needs will be OK out there in this big scary world!” Another poster commented, “Not only did this young man do a beautiful thing, he set an example. For now we have witnessed this kind act and hopefully will spread it into the world.”
Even though Cuotto didn’t get on that bus thinking that he’d become a role model or the picture of humanity, that’s exactly what happened. What makes the story even more touching is that Cuotto didn’t give his affection to get anything back. He did it because it was the right thing to do. Whether you chalk it up to who he is as a person or how his mum raised him, this young man’s actions certainly made a statement for everyone to see.
Don’t we all need a helping hand some of the time? Whether it’s a bad day, a sad day or anything else, sometimes the comfort of a friend (or a friendly acquaintance) is enough to get anyone through a tough time. Sometimes it’s just a momentary need to feel connected and close. All too often a ride on the bus, or even a walk down the street, means staying in your own world. For many it means avoiding the gazes of others in favor of searching the web on a cellphone, checking emails or texting. Instead of sharing a moment with someone in need, most people choose to keep to themselves. That’s not to say you need to go out and offer your hands to every person who may need a moment of your time. But, when a shining example of goodness is put out there, it’s no wonder that it goes viral.