An obviously disturbed man terrorized passengers when he began behaving erratically on a train. However, no one could predict what an elderly woman had planned when she walked right up to the troubled individual.
Ehab Taha was riding the SkyTrain in Vancouver when a man disrupted the trek with his bizarre antics. The man, who Taha described as a tall individual, began cursing to himself, shouting sporadically, and pacing back and forth in front of the other passengers. It was clear to everyone that the man was either mentally disturbed or on mind-altering drugs.
As the man became increasingly belligerent, passengers began to fear for their safety, Taha told CTV News. Eventually, everyone had moved away from him, concerned that he might hurt himself or others. It was then that an unlikely hero stepped into the mix.
Instead of moving away to safety, an elderly woman slowly shuffled toward the disturbed man. Neither Taha nor the other passengers thought that the woman would willfully place herself in danger, so no one tried to stop her. However, when she finally approached the man, they knew she had purposefully put herself in between the man and the rest of the train.
Fearing the worst, passengers held their breath as the old woman sat down right next to the man. She then looked at the man, reached out her hand, and waited in complete silence until he finally understood her offer and took hold of her hand. Miraculously, the man began to calm down and eventually sat still and quiet.
“I saw the most incredible display of humanity on the sky train,” Ehab Taha wrote on Facebook. “A six-foot-five man suffering from drug abuse and/or mental health issues was being very aggressive on the bus with erratic movements, cursing, shouting, etc. While everyone was scared, this one seventy-year-old woman reached out her hand, tightly gripping his hand until he calmed down, sat down silently, with eventual tears in his eyes.”
Ehab Taha says the pair sat in silence, holding hands peacefully for 20 minutes. When the man had reached his stop, he simply stood up, turned to the elderly woman, and said, “Thanks, grandma,” before exiting the train without another word.
After the man had left, Taha approached the elderly woman. He asked her how she knew what to do to calm the agitated man. She explained that she was led by her motherly instinct, having raised two sons who are around the same age as the man on the train.
“I spoke to the woman after this incident and she simply said, ‘I’m a mother and he needed someone to touch,’ and she started to cry,” Ehab Taha wrote.
Ehab Taha was struck not only by the woman’s selfless compassion but also that her simple response actually calmed the aggressive individual. None of the other passengers would have thought to even approach the man due to the risk of him becoming violent.
Taha says he learned a valuable lesson that day. He hopes that others learn not to judge strangers too harshly by their appearance because not everyone is exactly what they seem to be.
“Don’t fear or judge the stranger on the bus: life does not provide equal welfare for all its residents,” Ehab Taha concluded.
The train passengers were justified in their concern for the man’s safety as well as their own. They couldn’t possibly know if the man was truly dangerous. Still, the elderly woman’s instinct was correct, and her compassion certainly didn’t go to waste.
Incredibly, the woman’s sympathy just may have been what the man needed to combat whatever he was going through. It is a testament to the impact that we have on one another and the power of simple acts of kindness toward strangers.