Snapshot brings some sunshine

This photo gained more than 1,000 likes in less than 24 hours.
Courtesy of Erica Whyman

A picture speaks a thousand words, but a photo of a random act of kindness was worth a thousand likes Tuesday on the Overheard at Mizzou Facebook page.

The photo was of a student holding an umbrella for another student who was in a wheelchair. It was taken and posted on the popular Facebook page during Tuesday’s steady rain.

The photo quickly gained 1,448 likes and counting.

Junior Erica Whyman, the photographer, said she had left class early when she saw the duo.

“I did a double take and was taken aback by how powerful it was to see a simple act of kindness,” Whyman said. “It just changed my mood.”

Whyman said she felt empowered to take a photo because of the way it caused her to reflect on her outlook on life. The impact it had on her led Whyman to post it on her personal Facebook page. It received more than 300 likes and shares. Whyman wasn’t a member of the Overheard at Mizzou Facebook group when the photo was posted there.

At the time of the posting, Whyman said she didn’t know the men in the photo, who preferred not to be named. She has since reached out to them. Whyman said the men didn’t know each other prior to the act of kindness.

“All three of us agree that we want this to be a positive influence on people,” Whyman said. “I feel people were drawn to the picture because it’s a reflection of kindness and love. I feel like you don’t see that too often around campus. It’s an easy reminder not to belittle anyone but that we should be living outside of ourselves.”

Whyman said she didn’t do anything other than post a snapshot. The response was unexpected. Many of the comments on the photo cite One Mizzou and regaining faith in humanity.

Whyman said it feels good to know that so many people are responding in a positive way and that others will see it as well.

“There are a lot of selfless leaders here and it’s a good symbolic that everyone can do that. You don’t need a big fancy exec title or position to make a small difference,” Whyman said. “It shows the Mizzou campus is proud and positive.”

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