10 Stories That Prove We Really Are “In This Together”


In this moment of global anxiety and uncertainty, the phrase “we’re all in this together!” can feel a little empty. It’s hard to tap into a sense of togetherness when isolation is so tangible. It’s even harder when you can easily spend an entire day scrolling through an endless stream of difficult news that doesn’t predict when the tune might change. And yet, hope persists: in a story about an unsolicited act of kindness or an anecdote about a stranger volunteering to buy groceries for another stranger. These small efforts make a big difference. They’re proof that as physically distant as we are, we’re closer than ever—peas floating in the same human soup. Right now, evidence that this is true seems particularly vital, so we reached out to the citizens of Man Repeller’s community and asked for more of it. Below are 10 stories, as submitted by you, that show how connected we really are.

“I was stuck at the Dublin airport and had spent six hours in the customs line just to be told I couldn’t board my plane. The airline I was flying had sent all of their employees home for the day, so I was truly distraught and worried about how I would afford another ticket home. A complete stranger asked me if I needed help, and I explained my situation and how worried I was about paying for another ticket (I had already changed flights once, also I am a graduate student, so money is tight). He walked me to another airline ticket booth and bought me a direct flight home. My faith in humanity has never been more restored.” —Sedona, writing in from San Francisco

“My best friend lives in Spain with her family, and they own an ice cream shop. They had to close the shop, but they ended up donating all the ice cream they had made in preparation for the upcoming season to a homeless shelter. It makes me so happy, that even in the midst of economic uncertainty, this little local business decided to give the ice cream to people in need. It brings me some joy for sure.” —Margherita, writing in from Milan

“My 97-year-old grandmother and I live on the same street in San Francisco, exactly 18 blocks from each other. We’re currently under ‘shelter-in-place’ orders except for essential activities, including caring for the elderly. Today, I took an afternoon walk and passed by my grandma’s apartment. I called her and told her to come to the window. She peeked out from behind the blinds, and we waved at each other, from her second-floor apartment to the sidewalk. We chatted for a few minutes on the phone, all the while looking at each other and waving. As we hung up, I reminded her to wash her hands. Her response: ‘That’s what I was doing when you called!’ I finished my walk with a smile on my face.” —Caroline, writing in from San Francisco

He walked me to another airline ticket booth and bought me a direct flight home.

“I saw two women taking a brisk walk outside in my neighborhood today. They were talking cheerfully and normally, but one was walking on the sidewalk and the other on the road—maintaining a six-foot distance the whole time. It made me smile to think of friends who loved each other so much that they wanted to do something together while simultaneously protecting each other.” —Sarah, writing in from North Carolina

“We are on strict quarantine because several of my family members are immunocompromised. Cut to 6:45 pm yesterday. The doorbell rings. Our necks pivot. Was anyone expecting a visitor? We wait five minutes. Someone sees someone else walking away from the porch. We wait five minutes more. I creak open the front door and there, wrapped in cellophane, is a bouquet of bright yellow sunflowers. No person in sight. Simple sunshine.” —P., writing in from Utah

“I just returned from a semester abroad in London that was cut short due to the virus. My 21st birthday was this past Monday, and while my original plan was to spend my birthday in Paris with a couple friends, I found myself instead spending my birthday at home. I spent the day in quarantine but still dressed to the proverbial nines, cooked myself an over-the-top dinner, and generally attempted to make the best of the situation regardless of the unforeseen circumstances. The highlight of my day, however, was when a friend delivered an unexpected gift at my doorstep: a tray replete with various cheeses, chocolates, crackers, bread, wine, and flowers, as well as a card suggesting that I enjoy my treats over FaceTime with her. Given the severity of this situation, I genuinely didn’t expect anyone to do anything particularly special for me, so I cannot overstate how much this act of kindness meant to me.” —Annabelle, writing in from Massachusetts

Every night at 8:00 p.m., everyone in the country goes out on their balconies or stands with their windows open and claps for the people working to keep us going.

“I’m living in Spain, where I’m working as an English assistant at an elementary school. We’ve been in lockdown since Saturday, March 14th. Every night at 8:00 p.m., everyone in the whole country goes out on their balconies or stands with their windows open and claps for all of the people working to keep us going during this scary and difficult time—all of the medical workers, sanitation workers, supermarket and pharmacy workers, etc. Every night, we clap to show our gratefulness, support, and admiration for them. It’s very beautiful and gives us hope. The first night this happened at 10:00 p.m., but the time was changed to 8:00 p.m. the next day so that children could participate, too.” —Gigi, writing in from Spain

“I saw in an Instagram Story that someone in my neighborhood in Brooklyn had drawn a picture of a rainbow and put it in their window and was encouraging other people to do the same so that kids—out for walks with their parents to pass some of what would be a school day—could have a neighborhood-wide game of eye-spy. I cracked open some colored pencils and taped my own rainbow in my dirty window, expecting it would go probably go undetected. A day later, I heard small voices in a foreign language across the street and then an audible shriek: ‘Rainbow!’ Two little kids and their mom were pointing at my rainbow and staring with giant smiles. We stood for a second, not sure how to have this interaction. And then I waved—a big, goofy, full-body, happy, finally-something-makes-sense-in-this-world kind of wave. After what was actually a minute of just waving and smiling, the little brother broke away and ran down the street—leading his little sister and mom to hopefully find a few more.” —Allie, writing in from New York

“My mom is a small business owner and rents the space where she has her hair salon. Her landlord reached out earlier this week to let my mom know she was worried about her, and that they would figure something out about rent. These are very trying times for small businesses, and acts of generosity like this can help keep them afloat.” —Nicala, writing in from Ohio

“The other day, I was scavenging for anything green in our wiped-out supermarket. An older man stood near me and exclaimed about the lack of spinach. I pointed out the remaining spring mix bag, but we both frowned disapprovingly. It looked like it had been in a tug-of-war. I shrugged, and my partner came over to put something in our basket. We moved to another part of the store. Later, I was standing in front of the canned vegetables, similarly dismayed because canned green beans were all that was left. The older man from earlier reappeared and rushed toward me. He’d found two bags of spinach and one was for me.” —Hannah, writing in from Connecticut

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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