When faced with a stranger acting out in a public space, most people tend to avert their eyes, keep walking, and avoid any sort of confrontation. But one Vancouver woman completely broke those rules, and there's a viral Facebook photo to prove it. According to Ehab Tana, a man in British Columbia, who posted the moment to the social network, there was a "6-foot-5 man suffering from drug abuse andor mental health issues [who] was being very aggressive on the bus with erratic movements, cursing, shouting, etc." on a Vancouver SkyTrain. And while the rest of the bus riders backed away from the man, one woman stood up and decided to show him some compassion. "While everyone was scared, this one 70-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 wrote Tuesday.
"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," Taha continued. His post has since been shared more than 15,000 times. The simple act of human touch can be powerful. Past studies suggest that hugs can keep you from catching a cold. In one study from the University of Virginia, holding hands with strangers (or in this case, the experimenters) was found to reduce stress responses in the brain. The stress response decreased even more when women were holding hands with their loved ones. Moral of the story: The simple human act of holding hands can do wonders, even with strangers on public transit. As Taha wrote: "Don't fear or judge the stranger on the bus: Life does not provide equal welfare for all its residents."