On Saturday, an explosion on West 23rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan rocked New York City, leaving 29 people injured and a dumpster mangled and smoldering in the street. Like during other times of great national tragedy—the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and, most recently, a mass shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida—the threat of violence also has the potential to spark small acts of kindness and generosity.
In the wake of the bombing, as authorities began their search search for a 28-year-old suspect named Ahmad Khan Rahami, a clip of a Starbucks employee giving out free food and coffee to first responders went viral.
“I want to give y'all some coffee and some pastries," he said, passing bags of treats to men dressed in NYPD and FDNY shirts on Sunday. The worker identified himself as Jermaine and went around shaking the hands of each responder. “Thanks a lot,” he added.
The video has since gone viral, amassing some 4.7 million views on CNN’s Facebook page, and represented a small glimmer of humanity during an otherwise grim weekend in Chelsea.
Following the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June, which left 49 members of LGBT community dead and 53 injured, local food companies came out to support the relief effort. The Sunday after the attack, workers at a local Chick-fil-A passed out free sandwiches to those donating blood for victims of the tragedy.