Jackie Summers, a 49-year-old Brooklyn resident and whiskey distiller, was just trying to be nice when he scooted over to make room for a couple on the F train after leaving a dim sum brunch in Chinatown on Easter morning.
The couple, clothed in traditional Hassidic dress, in turn moved over to make room for a Muslim mother who needed to sit so she could nurse her young child.
Summers, a Taoist, pulled out his camera and captured the moment – one he saw as representative of what it means to be a New Yorker and more importantly, what it means to be an American.
“The current political climate is trying to pit us at each other, trying to pit races, religions, and sexes against each other and it felt good to see people willing to coexist,” Summers said.
Summers described the moment of all people sitting, riding the subway as “the most ordinary thing in the world,” but he said even as a jaded New Yorker, he was struck by the little slice of diversity sitting harmoniously in front of him.
“The America I was raised in is a place where common courtesy is basic and this is not supposed to be a big deal. It should be a baseline standard,” he said.
But amid news reports of rising instances of hate crimes and anti-Semitism, the scene struck him anyway – and he wasn’t alone.
The post has been shared more than 98,000 times on Facebook and re-tweeted more than 5,300 times on Twitter.
“It resonates because America wants believe it’s better than what we are currently being reported as,” Summers said.
Nevertheless, Summers said he’s astounded at all the attention the photo has received.
“I’m floored genuinely, but if helps people feel good… people need something to feel good about,” he said.
A lot of people thought is perfectly summed up Amercia.
@jackfrombkln Too bad billionaires don't use transit to see the real America— John Ryerson (@jryerson1) April 16, 2017
@jackfrombkln Thank you. This photo and your story brought happiness today.— Kayla Cagan (@KaylaCagan) April 16, 2017
@jackfrombkln Humanity- sometimes, we get it right 😍— Mouth of Sauron (@simon_lindsell) April 17, 2017