On a Saturday night, I got off work around 9pm, and I headed my way from the Nike Store to New York Penn Station to catch the 10:35PM train back to Newark, NJ. Arriving at the station around 9:45pm, I stood by myself leaning on the pillar inside the station near gate number 4. I was wearing my Black and White Lunarglide 8 shoes, Nike Dry Phenom running pants, and my black Nike Running Jacket. I looked like a true Nike Athlete ready to conquer whatever challenge that awaits me.
As I was staring down on my phone a random guy approached me and said “Hey, I like the way you’re standing, do you mind if I take a picture of you?” I was kind of freaked out, but flattered at the same time, so I said sure, why not and began posing for the camera as I was in a famous shoot or something. “Thank you for allowing me to take your picture. Not many people would allow me to do that, without being creeped out” He smiled “Well, it’s NYC, so I wasn’t too weird out to be honest. If you told me to get naked, then it would have been a different story” we both broke out into a huge exchange of laughter.
I then asked him what is he planning on using the pictures for? Then he asked me if I’ve ever heard of H.O.N.Y before. I didn’t hear him very well, so with a puzzled look, I repeated, “Pony? Like the animal? If so, yes I have.” Then he looked at me and laughed, “Man, you’re a funny guy. No, I mean HONY, which stands for Humans Of New York.” I still had no idea what the guy was talking about me, so being a smart aleck as I am “Well, they are humans everywhere, so yes, I know them very well.” We started to laugh again, and then he finally introduced himself. “It’s okay! My name is Brandon Stanton and I started a blog called Humans Of New York. I’m on a mission to meet as many New Yorkers, providing a glimpse of the lives of strangers to a worldwide audience. I saw you standing there, and you look like someone who has an interesting story to share with the world.” I didn’t know what to say, but the way he spoke and the sincere that was in his eyes and the passion he portray through his body language, I couldn’t help to be admissible and help him with his project. He began sharing how he started the blog on Tumblr, a social media platform I wasn’t too familiar with, but grew into something much larger expanding to all major social media platforms.
We were talking for nearly 20 minutes before he asked me to share something amazing that happened in my life. I began talking about how I worked three jobs in high school and how I attended multiple high schools, without really saying the reason behind my multiple jobs and the constant moving. He could tell there were more behind the story, so he asked me “That’s incredible , but why you moved so much? I could sense something happened that the world would love to hear.” It was then I opened up, and it was the first time I truly opened up about my past to a complete stranger. I began sharing my life, in Miami, my father’s abandonment, the passing of my mother, and the process of me selecting my Alma Mater, Ferris State University. He captured the complete story on his phone, moving his fingers in a million miles per hour, and looked at me, pause, and said “Carlvin, it would be an honor to share your story with the world. I will send you an email with everything, so you could check for accuracy within a day or so. I recommend you follow the Humans Of New York page on Facebook, and I will email you letting you know when your story is shared with the world. “ Before we could continue our conversation further, my train arrived on the platform, so I had to cut our conversation short. “Well, Brandon, thank you for listening and allowing me to share my story. It was actually very therapeutic. Let’s keep in touch and look forward to hearing from you.”
We parted our ways, I really didn’t think much of it to be honest. I even forgot to even check out the Human Of New York page or follow the page on Facebook. I was so tired from work, I just wanted to go to sleep and be ready to perform my best the next day for work. That is, until next month…..
The following month, I was applying to be a volunteer for the Rio Olympics, until I heard someone screamed my name extremely loud literally freaking me out. “OMG, Carlvin!!!! You’re on Humans Of New York!!!” It was Laura, and it was then when all my colleagues flocked over to my desk, to read my story. Many of my colleagues had no idea of my interesting past.