The most powerful gestures can also be the simplest.
Godfrey Coutto, a 21-year-old student at McMaster University, was on a bus in the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, when a man named Robert who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, asked to shake his hand.
The 21-year-old agreed, and Robert continued to hold the student's hand, lean on him and kiss his hands. The action initially came as a surprise to the student, but he eventually realized what was going on.
"He kept holding my hand," he explained to The Huffington Post Canada. "I thought I was getting pranked at first, but he just needed comfort."
Coutto stayed put, silently offering support to Robert. Another bus rider captured the gesture on camera and shared it with Only In Hamilton, a Facebook page, earlier this month. It went viral with more than 11,600 shares and more than 50,000 likes as of Monday afternoon.
The 21-year-old told Global News that hopefully others will pay the generosity forward after seeing the picture.
“To be honest I’m no role model, no hero, but I hope to inspire people from what I did,” Coutto said.
The student told HuffPost Canada that Robert's actions first alarmed him, but when he realized that the man has special needs, he acted with understanding.
"I just allowed it, like what am I going to do?" Coutto said. "Sometimes you just have to be selfless and put someone else's needs above yours."
According to Coutto, Robert's niece reached out to thank him for his kind act, Global News reported. She told him that not everybody reacts to Robert in a positive way and explained that her uncle enjoys socializing, but often strangers reject his friendly actions.
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