Alright, folks. It’s time for me to tell you about one of my very favourite blogs.
Humans of New York.
Please go look at it, even if you have before.
HONY, as it is referred to in short, is run by a guy named Brandon. Although the project started as something else, he now goes about New York photographing anyone who seems interesting. He also collects quotes or anecdotes from the people he photographs, which turns each photo into a unique, inspiring story.
I now would like to share with you some of my favourite posts from HONY. The following photos and captions are taken from the HONY blog.
Just as I was thinking that I never really see anyone hugging the Free Hug people…
“We’ve been together a long, long time.”
“What’s your favorite thing about each other?”
“Well, he may not be able to understand you too well right now, but he’s a sweet old bird yet.”
I stumbled upon a National Treasure yesterday.
I was walking down 3rd Avenue when I noticed an old man in a wheelchair. He was being pushed by a caretaker. Despite his physical condition, he had dressed with extreme care. He wore an outlandish yellow outfit. Everything about him was yellow, from his shades to his socks. Intrigued by his appearance, I bent down and asked for a photograph. He silently nodded approval.
After I’d taken his photograph, his caretaker offered a formal introduction: “This is Banana George,” she said, “the world’s oldest barefoot waterskier. He’s 97 now. When he was 92, he set the world record for the oldest person to waterski barefoot.”
Banana George didn’t even begin waterskiing until he was 40. But it soon became his passion. So much so that he began doing shows at Cypress Gardens— hopping jumps and riding with women on his shoulders. In the course of his career, he’s broken his back 4 times. He’s also broken his ankle, knee, and eleven ribs. Banana George waterskied until the last possible moment. I’ve seen footage of a very old George being pulled through the water in a wheelchair-on-skis, smiling like a madman.
Here you can see a short video I found of Banana George skiing on his 90th birthday: http://bit.ly/ri0bD3
Banana George is a testament to loving life, and he deserves to be celebrated. I discovered that his family set up a fan page for him. It only has 835 people so far. Let’s show George how much we love his spirit, and join his fan group: http://on.fb.me/P0f087
“Why are you dancing?”
“I just saw my wife across the street.”
These two have been on HONY three times because they just won’t stop holding hands.
“Everyone who sees my resume asks me why I drive a cab. Back in Niger, I was a French teacher. But the government stopped paying us for a few months, so I decided to quit my job and move to America. That was 12 years ago.
I thought I could teach French here, but I had no idea how hard it would be to get a job without papers. The only place I could find work was a carwash. Back in Niger, kids would wash my car for me. Now all day long I was washing cars for other people. I was very depressed. But I was too embarrassed to go back home. Then one year after I arrived, George Bush got elected and everyone was telling me that it meant very bad things for me. They said the Republicans would make trouble for me. So I was very scared.
After the car wash, I became a stock boy. Then, a delivery driver. Five years ago, I got my papers and became a citizen, so now I’m able to work at the airport. At nights, and on my days off, I drive a cab. Just this year I graduated from Brooklyn College with a Masters degree in French. I finished third in my class. Now I think I can become a professor.”
Before every move, the boy would put his hand on a piece, and the man would shake his head “yes” or “no.”
This man really made me smile. Immediately after I asked for his photo, it became apparent that he didn’t speak English. This is normally a deal breaker. It is very difficult to convince a stranger to let you take their photo if they cannot understand a word you are saying.
But I attempted my usual sign language, which involves pointing at the camera then pointing at the person’s face. (All while smiling stupidly.) And this time it worked. The man straightened his shoulders, stared into the lens of the camera, and smiled. I took his portrait and thanked him profusely.
I began to walk away when I heard him calling to me. I turned around and saw him tugging at his traditional clothing. “Me Pakistan!” he said. “Me Pakistan!”
Every person has a unique story. Every person has their own challenges. When we take the time to listen to the stories others have to tell — that’s when we really get to know someone. It’s not about what you look like. It’s your heart that matters.