Alonzo Johnson had no idea that someone had snapped a picture of him while he rode the escalator at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside in Massachusetts. A ride down the moving escalator lasted only seconds but suddenly that ride has caught the eye of the nation.
On Wednesday morning Fox & Friends featured a story on this viral picture of Johnson on the escalator because of the stranger on his arm, an 83-year-old elderly man. Along with the picture, it was the heartwarming circumstances leading up to that elderly man giving his arm to the 23-year-old Johnson that caught the nation’s interest.
When Alfonzo learned about the picture he was stunned because he had no idea that anyone was watching him, the Boston Globe reports. Little did he know at the time that the two women behind him and the elderly man on the escalator were not only watching them, but they snapped the picture that’s gone viral. So how did this picture showing an act of kindness come about in the first place?
Alfonzo was a the mall in Holyoke, Massachuestts with his cousin and the two split up to do their own shopping. When Alfonzo approached the escalator he saw an elderly man standing with two women at the entrance to these moving stairs. It first looked as if they were all together but as Alfonzo approached he realized that the women were not with the man, they were talking to this elderly gentleman about his fear of stepping onto the escalator.
They had come across this man who was standing at the top of the escalator in fear of riding the moving stairs because of a past bad experience. While the women were talking to the man, the stepped aside and offered Alfonzo to go ahead of them. He told them he was in no hurry and he could wait for them to go first.
This is when he realized the women were talking to the elderly gentleman about his reluctance to step onto the contraption. Alfonzo simply stepped forward and asked the man if he could help him down the escalator. The 83-year-old man accepted this invitation and took Alfonso’s arm.
The man was nervous so Alfonso talked to him as they descended to the main floor of the mall arm in arm. Once at the bottom, the two strangers parted ways and those couple of minutes at the mall just became part of Alfonzo’s day and something he didn’t think about again. That is until he became famous across the online world and on the morning news shows.
Paula Accorsi Picard was one of the women originally talking to the man at the top of the stairs and who was behind the two men arm and arm on the escalator. The image of the two men riding the escalator arm in arm prompted her to snap this picture. Picard posted the photo on Facebook and wrote, “A little redemption for the suffering human soul.”
She also explained the scene on her Facebook post writing, “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!”
She closed this post with “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!”
After the picture was online a few days, people started to tag Alfonso in the photo and he became aware of this post. This viral picture has more than half a million “likes” making Alfonso a pretty famous guy today and all because he helped an elderly gentleman down the escalator. As far as Alfonso is concerned this is the type of help people should offer every day when seeing someone in need. This is also something his mother taught him and his brothers. If someone looks like they need help, his mom told them to take the time out to offer that help.
As far as Alfonso is concerned this is the type of help people should offer every day when seeing someone in need. To him, this remains no big deal, but to the rest of folks who have seen this picture online, in a world full of tragic stories today, this was a much-appreciated snapshot proving kindness still exists.
[Featured Image by Patrick Semansky/AP Images]