On Wednesday, I came across a viral tweet from a Twitter user in the United Kingdom named James Gleave.
Gleave met an older woman in the train station who had been let down by everything around her. In his words, family, community and the state weren’t there for her after she escaped domestic abuse.
She was left “shaking and nervous” on the train’s platform when Gleave decided to ask how she was, something he said he wouldn’t typically do.
This story resonated with me and seems to paint a picture about things that are happening all over the world.
In an environment where it seems like a lot is happening, and a lot that’s not always happy, there’s always bright lights. It’s people who step up for someone when everything else has let them down.
In this case, it was Gleave who was shocked that the local groups were unavailable and doctors didn’t have appointments for days.
Again, I feel like this is common, even in Gainesville.
It’s not unusual to see homeless people all over street corners on Archer Road.
Transportation isn’t always timely.
Shelters aren’t necessarily easily accessible.
Personally, I’ve had to wait up to months for doctors’ appointments.
Furthermore, while Gainesville has thousands of helpers, I’ve also seen people walk past someone in need. Unfortunately, I’ve had to be that person. I’m sure everyone has had to be at some point. I had to run by someone who was having a bike issue because I was late for a class across campus. I haven’t always had time or spare change to give to someone in need.
However, from this story, I was inspired to help more and also made aware of how even the helpers need help.
Sometimes I have been Gleave, the person hesitant to speak up and make someone uncomfortable. Sometimes I have been the older woman. At times when I’ve been visibly shaken, it’s been friends, professors, mentors, people in my clubs and extracurricular activities, certain doctors or random civilians who have helped me in my worst moments: When I became lost and disoriented in UF Health Shands Hospital, when I was frantically shuffling after a bus and the bus driver waited, when a friend saw I looked off and stayed with me in the emergency room or when mentors encouraged me when I was shaken and unsure about success.
I never forget lights like these. People who don’t even question helping when other resources were unavailable or not listening.
Even though social media or news has been demonized at times, it is testimonials like these, investigations and features that shed light on important issues that make me honored to be studying journalism. I am learning from professors and peers who show me the way and are lights in my journey.
Gleave’s story has inspired me to want to tell more stories, and I’m honored to be in a college where I get to learn how.
Sophie Feinberg is a UF journalism junior. Her column comes out Tuesday and Thursday.