A photo uploaded to social media last week captures the heartwarming moment that a young man from Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, performed an act of selfless kindness that has made thousands online to fall in love with him.
Godfrey Cuotto, 22, a student of McMaster University, was recently photographed soothing a special needs man, identified simply as Robert, on a crowded downtown bus in Hamilton.
The photo shows Godfrey sitting next to Robert on a busy downtown bus and allowing Robert to hold his hand.
Robert’s family explained later that Robert is deaf and suffers from cerebral palsy. The special needs man appeared to have been overwhelmed by the experience of riding on a crowded downtown bus, and was in need of comforting.
Many Facebook users have described Cuotto’s tolerance of a stranger in need as a “beautiful” and “perfect” act of kindness.
An unamed commuter snapped the photo of Godfrey holding hands with Robert and posted it to the Facebook page “Only In Hamilton” on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at about 8:55 p.m.
The photo went viral immediately.
“I didn’t know if you can post this but I would like to say thank you to the guy who was sitting beside a special needs gentleman,” the commuter who posted the photo to Facebook wrote. “He allowed him to hold his hand and find comfort well in a packed bus … It makes my day when I see stuff like that.”
“I would like to say thank you to the guy who was seating beside a special needs gentleman… He allowed him to hold his hand and find comfort well in a packed bus..”
Recalling the incident later, Cuotto said he was returning home from downtown Hamilton when he entered a crowded bus and met a man sitting near the front who wanted to shake hands.
Cuotto admitted that at first he was hesitant about shaking hands with a stranger and that for a while he thought he was “getting pranked.”
But soon after he shook hands with Robert, he realized he was a special needs person in need of soothing.
He told Huffington Post Canada, “He kept holding my hand. I thought I was getting pranked at first, but he just needed comfort.”
“Sometimes you just have to be selfless and put someone else’s needs above yours.”
After allowing Robert to hold his hand, Cuotto allowed him to lean against him. During the 30-minute journey, according to Cuotto, Robert held his hand, leaned on him, hugged him, and even kissed his hand.
“I just allowed it, like what am I going to do? Sometimes you just have to be selfless and put someone else’s needs above yours,” he said.
He told Huffington Post Canada that later in the day he received a Facebook message from a member of Robert’s family who thanked him for being kind to their uncle.
The person told Cuotto that Robert suffered from cerebral palsy and that he was deaf.
By the time he realized that his action had drawn attention online, the photo showing him holding hands with Robert had received more than 40,000 likes and 10,000 shares, with many praising the young man from his selfless act.
“The world needs more people like you!”
“That’s beautiful really put a smile on my face.”
“Despite all the negativity in the world, people are still amazing.”
Other Facebook users shared testimonies.
“I have a brother with autism. May he run into many more people just like this true gentleman from Hamilton.”
“Thank you so much young man for this. Warmed my heart! I am a mum of an 8 year old little man called Tate. He has Down syndrome and is a wheelchair. I wish there were more people like you, so much love and thanks to you from London…”
One Faceook user suggested that Cuotto should take up a career as politician, saying he has so much to offer.
“Godfrey Cuotto should consider a career in politics,” Stephen Snow wrote. “His mother should be his chief of staff! What’s more impressive than his act of kindnes… his confidence at age 22… how he shrugs off the glory coming his way! Awesome man and a good reminder for the rest of us.”
In an interview with a radio station Kiss92.5 on Thursday, Cuotto said he allowed Robert to hold his hand until the final stop. When asked why he allowed a stranger to hold his hand on a bus, Cuotto said he was raised by his mother to show kindness to people in need.
The young man described his mother as a “queen.”
[Image: Facebook / Only In Hamilton]