It’s probably safe to say that the Humans of New York Facebook posts have made the most hard-hearted of us shed a tear or two. But when we’re reading them, they feel so personal it’s hard to remember they are being seen by such a huge audience. Sometimes that audience even includes the President of the United States.
HONY Creator Brandon Stanton has captured the entire continuum of human emotion, from joy to despair to gratitude, and this week, one particular photo got the attention of some pretty powerful folks. The President himself, using the White House’s official Facebook page, commented on an Iranian man’s post about his son’s giving nature.
The man told HONY, “Today’s his tenth birthday. He’s a very emotional young man. He likes to solve other people’s problems. One time when he was five years old, he came with me to the store and we bought two pounds of fresh apricots. I let him carry the bag home. He walked a little bit behind me the entire way. After awhile, I asked him to hand me an apricot. ‘I can’t,’ he said. ‘I’ve given them all away.’ I knew then that I was raising a humanitarian.”
President Obama was so moved at the father’s sentiment toward his son, that he replied: “What an inspirational story. One of the most fulfilling things that can happen to you as a parent is to see the values you’ve worked to instill in your kids start to manifest themselves in their actions — and this one really resonated with me. I hope this young man never loses his desire to help others. And I’m going to continue doing whatever I can to make this world a place where he and every young person like him can live up to their full potential. (And if I ever get to meet him, I hope he’ll save me an apricot!) – bo”
P.S. When White House social media posts are signed “bo” it means they’ve come from the President himself.
This post has picked quite a bit of steam, but the Humans of New York page is no stranger to wide appeal, oftentimes from politicians.
Back in July, Time reported another political giant weighing in on a HONY photo. Hillary Clinton commented on this picture of a forlorn little boy. This image’s caption read, “I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me.”
Touched by his honesty and show of character, the former Secretary of State replied: “Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing. You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you – there will be lots of them.”
Both Clinton and Obama are among the hundreds of thousands of Facebook users who check into the Humans of New York page daily to see stories of people overcoming their personal struggles, celebrating their individual successes, and contributing to a better global community.
How cool is it that a handful of these users can get a pep talk from some of the most powerful people in the world? In case you needed any proof that the internet can sometimes use its powers for good, well, there it is.
[All images via Facebook]