Kindness in the Millennials Era: The HONY Effect

I’m a big art fan. The first picture from Humans of New Yorkthat I saw online portrayed a suited interracial couple. I loved it. For me it was the perfect representation of New York City as a cosmopolitan place where different cultures and personalities with all sorts of backgrounds and characteristics converge beautifully. NYC is a working city, a fashion city. You ask, NYC has it.

As a Mexican student in Yale, NYC was the perfect place for doing research, going shopping, going partying, or just for a change of scenery. A lot of my Mexican and Latin American friends told me that newyorkers are cold and not very friendly, Maybe I’m biased due to my love for big cities or after a few months in the North East I’m quite used to the cold weather and busyness.

I liked Humans of New York (HONY for short) Facebook page. Over a couple of months the content has been far from disappointing. Photographer Brandon Stanton has a good eye for his subject: people in NYC’s streets. When I see his photos I feel as if I’m back in the city riding the sub, reading a book at Central Park or crossing the streets. The feeling of closeness to the city is not hard to evoke , but transmitting it towards and between the citizens and page fans is an art.

I was happily surprised in August 2nd after a picture was posted online. The subjects of the photo were a mother and her child selling horse-related articles in a park . Stanton’s photos come with a small interview, this particular one was about a boy that loves horses and dreams to buy his own. Stanton had an idea after uploading the photo:  funding a trip for Rumi to Wild West Adventure. This fundraising was not for charity, was not a product of marketing, and is not a goal that HONY aims for. Fifteen minutes after the initiative was posted the amount of money needed for sending Rumi to Wild West Adventure was reached and over-passed. The rest of the money was donated to New York Therapeutic Riding Center. I was touched. The fundraising was a purely disinterested act among complete strangers that didn’t hesitated in giving their money.

After reading Time Magazine’s article about “Millennials” and some other journalism pieces describing the generation as selfish and our future as half-doomed I felt relieved to see this act of kindness. In my opinion, gigantic generational tags are hurtful. I don’t feel that I belong to “Y” generation or to “Millennials” generation. I share a few characteristics with both of them and the rest are a product of my personality and upbringing. After seeing HONY’s founder and page fans spontaneous act of generosity driven by an specific non-profit target I have a thing to say to all those pessimists, students, and people that worries like me: will be just fine.



  1. I swear I already left this comment…. Okay, this post cheered me up! (Not that I was especially down.) I wanted to say that as a grumpy old fart, I am not worried about your generation’s heart. I worry that the culture works very had to prevent you from living from the heart. Except for always looking down at your cell phones instead of up at the people passing by—that really does worry me.

    • Professor, thanks for your comment! I do agree with you that the lost of face-to-face interaction is a worrying situation. One of the reasons why I love plays, dance performances, and music concerts is that you have to unplug yourself from the social networks to truly enjoy them.

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