A touching moment of kindness between two people was caught on camera after a man literally gave the shirt off his back to a shivering homeless man on Friday evening.
The New York Daily News reports the viral video below was posted by Lazaro Nolasco on Facebook and has received just over 12 million views. Nolasco says he was on the subway train leaving the Washington Heights area of the city Friday night when he saw a man identified as “Jay” walk up to a homeless man and give him his shirt and hat.
Nolasco said the passenger asked the homeless man if he was OK and if he needed to go to the hospital.
Shivering and hunched over, the do-gooder helped the man put the white t-shirt and black skull-cap on.
“It was just us on the train,” said Nolasco, whose video of the encounter went viral.
“The guy didn’t have a shirt on,” he told the Daily News. “His body looked sick. The guy did a good deed, so I wanted to record it. I would tell him, ‘God bless him.’ That was thoughtful.”
The 21-year-old posted the video that evening after getting off the train at 42nd Street. The encounter occurred just a few days after temperatures in the city dropped to blistering lows.
Last Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order to have the homeless taken off the streets and placed into shelters when temperatures drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. The New York Timesreports the order was put into place to ensure public safety. The low on Friday averaged 31 degrees.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters he respected the strategy. The tactic was used in the past by former mayor Edward I. Koch, but met legal obstacles.
The Coalition for the Homeless reports the majority of New York’s homeless population is living with an undiagnosed mental illness. More than 100,000 men, women, and children make up the New York Shelter system. Approximately 57 percent of shelter residents are African-American, 31 percent are Latino.