One morning, Stephanie St. James filmed something beautiful happening in the street below her apartment. At first it just looked like a local man interacting with friends, but what he was actually doing was far more special. So much so that it brought St. James to tears.
St. James is a Miami-born actress, who spent her childhood years growing up in northern California. She got into the performing arts while she was still a very young girl, and she has been pursuing the acting dream ever since then.
St. James landed her first role while she was taking a course at the American Musical and Dramatic Society in New York. Following on from that, the actress appeared in countless theatrical productions, as well as on TV. Remarkably, she’s even a published writer.
St. James married her husband Ari Werba in 2010, but the couple didn’t stay in North America. They moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, a significantly poorer country than the U.S. In fact, about 25 percent of the population were below the poverty line, and the couple only had to look out of their window to understand that.
Then, one day, St. James and her husband were doing exactly when they spotted something remarkable going on through the window. They were making coffee when someone in particular caught their eye. What they saw that day was so beautiful that they started filming the incident and then uploaded the video to YouTube.
To begin with, the video shows an older man on the street below. The camera captures him standing in a doorway wearing a jacket and a flat cap. But it’s what he does next that is most heart-warming. The amazement in St. James’ voice is clear to hear.
In his left hand he holds a clear plastic bag, containing what appears to be a selection of food items. But he’s not on the way back from the supermarket. In fact, the food isn’t for him at all. It’s for other people in the community, and it’s all for free.
Next a woman walks towards the man in the doorway. As she draws close, the man extends his hand and hands her some sort of food package. The woman turns and heads off the way she came, just as two more women gather around the man.
It’s clear to see that his bag of food supplies is running low, but he hands the last item to one of the women. Then what happens next is truly touching. The woman embraces the man, and the two share a meaningful hug on the street.
“The man across the street from us is literally feeding the people,” says St. James over the top of the footage. But then even more people come to see the man. And it’s a sight that St. James clearly finds emotional to watch.
“Oh my gosh, look at all these people coming to be fed,” St. James says as a group starts to form around the kind man handing out food. However, at this point, he doesn’t have any food left, but the people linger around him nonetheless.
Once there are more than five people crowded around the man’s doorway, he gets them to form an orderly line along the pavement. Then, once seven people are standing there queuing, the man returns inside briefly to retrieve something from his hallway.
He reaches inside only momentarily to grab something while the people wait outside. After that, he reappears with a large bag containing even more food. Without hesitation, he begins handing it out to the people in the queue, one by one. As he does that, other people in the street realize what is happening.
In just a few seconds, more and more people start to approach the man handing out supplies. “Oh my God, people are running to get food,” St. James explains tearfully, as other local people rush towards the generous handout.
“This is the gift of waking up early in the morning – to see this,” she says, totally humbled by what she’s seeing across the street from her. At least 20 people flock towards the man handing out food, before he eventually runs out of it entirely.
With his plastic bag empty, the man then scrunches it up into a ball. After tossing the bag inside the hallway once again, he places one hand on his hip and the other on the doorframe. Then the man quietly observes his street while St. James looks on with audible tears.
St. James was so touched by what she saw that morning that she uploaded the video straight to YouTube. She entitled it, “The most beautiful act of kindness I’ve ever seen” and wrote an inspirational message underneath the footage too.
“For those of you who have lost faith in humanity, this morning my husband and I had the honor of witnessing one of the most beautiful acts of kindness we have ever seen,” St. James wrote. With the man’s heart-warming gesture in mind, she had some words of wisdom for the viewers.
“So many of us spend our days complaining about what we don’t have and about how F’d up the world is because we are being fed so much negativity through media and social media all day long. We tune into it and we lose perspective,” St. James said before finishing with a powerful statement.
“So here is some perspective for you today. Lead from your heart. Be of service. Love thy neighbor,” wrote St. James to remind the viewers of how she thought life should be lived. And one viewer who watched the video certainly seemed to agree. They said they were brought to tears by the man’s kindness and commented that society needs more “angels” like him.