Kind Man Who Let Stranger Sleep on His Shoulder Inspires the Internet

subway sleeperWould you let a stranger fall asleep on your shoulder? This sweet photo is going viral, and for those of us who take public transportation, it's a jaw-dropper. The photo shows a young man on the subway sleeping on an older man's shoulder. Aww! Reddit user Braffination caught the moment and posted it to Reddit. Braffination says he asked the older man, later identified as Isaac Theil, if he wanted him to wake the sleeper. "But he shook his head and responded, 'He must have had a long day, let him sleep. We've all been there, right?'"

Just so you know, as a New Yorker who rides the subway nearly every single day, you don't see this often. Fall asleep on a stranger's shoulder and you're more likely to get an irritated shove-off. I should know -- I've shrugged off plenty of people myself. That's why I find this photo so touching.


Once or twice I've let a tired woman keep sleeping. (I'm not a monster!) But part of the unwritten code of big cities is avoid touching each other at all costs. And I have to say, this sleeping on a stranger's shoulder business is different when it's a strange man dozing on a woman's shoulder, especially if she's riding alone. At night. Really late at night. Dude, do not do that to me, ever. You will go flying to the other end of the car.

Where was I? Oh yes, milk of human kindness and all that.

Anyway, subway mensch Isaac Theil told Tablet Magazine he was surprised by all the fuss. "The whole thing was happenstance, and I simply remembered the times my own head would bop on someone’s shoulder because I was so tired after a long day." Wow, empathy! It's alive and well in the city, my friends. Theil thought nothing of the incident. But now that the moment has been captured and catapulted throughout the Internet, he says, "I would love for people to use this as a lesson to just be good to each other."

None of us has to literally let someone fall asleep on our shoulder or risk our personal safety. But this is a great nudge for us all to be mindful about being kind. There are little opportunities all day, every day. We just have to notice and act.

How do you feel about letting strangers impose on you like this?


Image via Braffination/Reddit

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