Reddit is a social network full of tens of thousands of communities and discussions covering all sorts of topics, passions and interests – so it must be hard to pick one favourite, right?
That’s what the site’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, was asked during an appearance on U.S. chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live recently and he told the audience about one post he’d seen which had a particular impact on him.
The 34-year-old who is engaged to tennis superstar Serena Williams, said the post had made him feel ‘more connected’ to his fellow humans than ‘any other social network’.
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Alexis answered Jimmy’s question: “Do you have an all-time favourite post?”:
Ummm, there’s a lot! One of my favourites was on a community called ‘Ask Reddit’ where people just ask open-ended questions, one of our most popular ones.
And the question was ‘have you ever picked up a hitchhiker?’.
It’s a pretty innocuous question and the top-voted comment was this amazing story from a person who talked about having not actually picked up a hitchhiker but sort of being helped while stranded on the side of the road.
Their car was just totally wrecked, they couldn’t get anyone to pull over….
Then all of a sudden out of the darkness, this pick-up truck pulls up and a full family piles out of it and they’re a bunch of immigrants, Mexican immigrants and he can tell from the little bit of English they speak that they want to help – and they do so.
They get his car fixed up, they offer him food, they give him a fresh tomales – and he’s insisting, he’s like ‘let me give you some money’ and they don’t speak a tonne of English and he’s just trying to hand them 20 bucks or something.
But the family got back in the car they said ‘no, no, no, no way’.
But then on the way out, the driver, the husband, rolled down his window and he said ‘today you, tomorrow me’ and this obviously resonated with him.
He shares this story on Reddit, half a million people see it by the end of the day, the New York Times excerpts it a day later.
And here is this story of regular people just being decent to one another, that half a million people got to enjoy not because the guy that happened to was famous or gets to be on a show but because the internet said ‘this is good, more people need to hear it’.
In the last 12 years since we started it, the platform has given so many more reasons to be hopeful about my fellow humans and less scared of my fellow humans and feel more connected to my fellow humans than any other social network – and I’m grateful for that.
If only the world was more like this.