Man's message of kindness after deadly Toronto van attack goes viral

A screenshot of a video posted on Twitter featuring a man whose words on the aftermath of the Toronto van attack has attracted plenty of attention. Photo from <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:James Wattie/CBC Toronto via Twitter;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">James Wattie/CBC Toronto via Twitter</a>.
A screenshot of a video posted on Twitter featuring a man whose words on the aftermath of the Toronto van attack has attracted plenty of attention. Photo from James Wattie/CBC Toronto via Twitter.

Torontonians are still reeling from an attack that left 10 people dead and more than a dozen injured.

A rented van was used Monday afternoon on a busy stretch of Yonge Street to mow down pedestrians young and old. A 25-year-old man was arrested and charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said the carnage appeared to be deliberate, and authorities are investigating to determine the motive behind the incident.

But that hasn’t stopped people around the city from looking inward for answers.

CBC Toronto spoke to citizens about how they’re feeling following the deadly rampage. The news outlet came across a self-identifying Muslim man named Hamid Rahman. The words he shared appears to have struck a chord with many coming to terms with the tragedy.

A video of his remarks was published on Twitter by CBC Toronto producer James Wattie. The minute-long clip has received more than 200,000 views, 4,000 retweets and 8,000 shares just 20 hours after it was posted on Tuesday afternoon.

“Is your day-to-day life going to change at all after what happened here?” a reporter can be heard asking the man.

“Yes, in the sense that I will feel a need to be kind to people. Go out of my way not to miss opportunities to do good.” the man responds. “Because I think was happened [Monday] sort of touched everyone.

“When I look at the messages, it’s very strange. I’m seeing people saying ‘may God be with you, may God be with you’ … People are Muslim, Christian, Jews, Sikh or whatever, we’re all expressing this desire for goodness, for kindness, and offering prayers.

“I think we should do that for people and be kind to people while they’re still alive. When people die, those feelings come up, but maybe tomorrow or today I should try and go out of my way to be kinder to people.”

Wattie commented that the man’s response will stay with him “for a while.”

A woman named Fay Ramjuan replied to the Twitter post with the following:

“This is my father, who always goes out of his way to welcome strangers into our home, stops in the middle of the road to give someone a ride on a cold day or sends food over to the neighbours regularly. These small acts of kindness bind us as humans.”

Twitter user Ayesha Noorani also shared her thoughts on the remark.

“Love what this man said! We should all practice more kindness, more love and togetherness with everyone around us. Life is short and fickle — let’s do our best to make it a good one,” she wrote.

“This is the Canadian way to deal with these situations,” a man named Kevin replied to the post.

The message also caught the attention of people on Reddit, where it was featured on the front page of the Canada site on Wednesday morning.

“We need more of people like that gentleman,” A Reddit user who goes by Doormatty wrote.

“Something that we can all try to do — in person, online, wherever,” a person with the handle Turneroff replied.

Signs of kindness can be seen at a makeshift memorial in Toronto’s North York community where people have come to share heartfelt messages and pay their respects. A vigil was held Tuesday night to honour the victims.