I’m walking to class, making my daily trek to Queens Hall, and I see a familiar face pass by me. Struggling to figure out where I know him from, I continue to walk past the parking lot when it strikes me, and my eyes grow wide with realization. Humans of Queens College. I had met him in the cafeteria on campus. He had opened up to me, a stranger, about the start of his college career and the struggle he faced balancing work and school every day.
Fast-forward one month.
“Hi, I’m Rosie! I was wondering if I could take a photo of you,” I asked using the high-pitched voice that Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton swears makes him seem less creepy.
“Sure,” the young woman replied with a hesitant, yet inviting smile. I shot a photo of her and leaned forward to show her, but she laughed and pushed it away. “I don’t want to see it.” With understanding, I moved on to ask her what she was studying. “Communication Sciences and Disorders.”
“What? Me too!”
“Yeah, I think you’re in my class.” In that moment, my face grew hot with embarrassment. She sat right behind me every week.
Fast-forward another few weeks.
I used to work at the bookstore on campus, so it was normal for me to see many people I hadn’t seen in a long time. But one man I was helping turned to me in the aisle and immediately asked if I remembered him. You’ll be happy to know that I did remember him. I had spoken with him for the blog. I remembered where he sat when we talked, what he wore that day and what he said. It’s amazing that someone I met for only a few minutes remained so vivid in my mind.
These are the humans I encounter. The snapshots that I have taken of the people along my journey as the Humans of Queens College blogger remain in my mind. They are now snapshots of my life too.
So many people read the HONY posts by Brandon Stanton and find both joy and comfort in them. He captures so many people, but when I think about the millions of stories that remain hidden, that’s when I stop typing, stand up, pick up my camera, and ask in a high-pitched voice, “Would it be okay if I took your picture?”