"One rainy afternoon, I was on a crosstown bus when a young woman jumped on. She had a child with her who must have been about three or four years old.
"The bus was full, bumpy, and it soon got noisy, as her kid began crying—he was upset he couldn’t sit next to his mother. There were a couple of open seats, but they weren’t together, so she sat down on one and told him to sit on the other. But he wanted his mom. She was flustered and looked embarrassed (not to mention tired).
"Then another woman, a little older, stood up and moved so that the mother and child could sit together. The mum smiled as a thank-you. And then three words came out of the older woman’s mouth that elevated the entire energy of that bus ride:
“I’ve been there.”
"Simple, undramatic, and honest. In that moment, it seemed to unite the diverse people of New York City.
"Why? Because almost all experiences are shared human experiences. They’re universal. We forget that as we forge through life, focused on our own troubles and needs—which are actually less unique than we think.
"And a wonderful way to honor your past hurt is to help soothe another’s current pain.
“Can the essence of these three words help you make a small difference right now? It can be as simple as volunteering your seat, sharing some helpful advice, or even lightening the mood with a joke when you notice that someone’s uncomfortable—because we’re all in this together.”