“It Made Me Feel Better that Somebody Cared. You Always Feel like You’re on Your Own in Those Situations”

In September 2009, Alice Mullowney, a 20-year-old with a broken arm, rode the T subway in Boston, Massachusetts. Also riding the T was Deija Kirkland, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Community Charter School of Cambridge. Ms. Mullowney was going to the theater; Deija was going home following a 4-1 loss in her soccer game. Their subway car came to a stop in a dark tunnel. Ms. Mullowney said, “We were stuck between Charles and Park Street. The usual messages came along. Then the power shut off.” They stayed in the dark car for an hour. Ms. Mullowney said, “They asked me to move up front and I sat next to this just adorable girl. She was cute, a very bubbly personality.” Mullowney was sitting next to Deija, who said later that her grandmother “always taught me that if someone needs help or assistance, always to help them. So I introduced myself.”
Eventually, they exited the train. Deija said, “I waited for her to walk down the [train] stairs, and then I grabbed her arm and we walked [on the train tracks] to Charles/MGH.”
Ms. Mullowney said, “She just hung on to me and took me out and she was just going to stay with me until we got to the station. It made me feel better that somebody cared. You always feel like you’re on your own in those situations.” Deija held on to Ms. Mullowney’s good arm during the five- to 10-minute walk together, and then they parted and went their separate ways. Deija told her mother about the power going out in the subway, but she did not tell her about the good deed. Her mother, Kenya Burns, said about the good deed, “We talked about all the traffic, and how she walked on the tracks, but she didn’t even mention it. Kids, huh?” Deija said, “I didn’t really think it was a big deal. I just thought it was the right thing to do.”

Source: Jack Nicas, “On a crummy subway ride, a good deed stands out.” Boston Globe (Massachusetts). 17 September 2009


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