WATERBURY, CN (WTNH) — A nice gesture in the middle of freezing weather ended up warming the hearts of more than 2.5 million people. That’s how many views a Facebook video from Waterbury has generated so far. It’s gone viral.
“I can’t even wrap my mind around how many that really is,” said Christina Calvo. “But, I know it’s reached people from around the world. I’ve been getting messages from all different countries, all different languages, and it’s just been so surreal.”
Here’s what generated all of the interest. A few days ago, during a cold snap in Waterbury, Christina Calvo was driving down Meriden Rodd. She noticed a man outside without a coat on.
“Immediately my eyes teared up,” Christina said. “Nobody should be outside without a coat.”
So, Christina drove to Burlington Coat Factory, which was right down the street, and bought a winter coat. She drove back to Meriden Road hoping to find that man. She did. And she approached him with open arms showing him the coat that was now going to be his.
The man kept repeating “Oh my God! Oh my God!” He gave Christina a big hug.
“The minute I saw his reaction,” Christina said. “It just filled my heart.”
It not only filled her heart. In addition to the more than 2.5 million views on Facebook, the video has generated more than 90,000 likes and 2,000 comments.
“Because it’s just a natural act of kindness,” said Erica Harkin, of Waterbury, “And at this time of year, that’s just something so special to see and we need more people like that.”
“In today’s climate with all of the hatred and divisiveness — that’s all you see on social media is hatred and fighting,” said Tom Harkin, of Waterbury. “I mean, we forget that there are still good people that do good things.”
Christina says she didn’t post the video for any personal glory.
“The reason I posted it was because I wanted other people to be inspired to do something nice for somebody,” she said.
Much to Christina’s surprise, it inspired the folks at Burlington Coat Factory. The company now plans to donate 500 winter coats to any charity of Christina’s choosing.
“I just started to cry,” Christina said. “It was just so overwhelming — like wow!”
Christina’s one coat for that man will now turn into 500 coats for many other people. She plans to donate the 500 coats to four Waterbury charities: The Knights of Columbus, Acts4Ministry, The Spanish Coalition and the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen.
“I wanted to keep the coats in the Waterbury area so I chose Acts4Ministry to receive some of them, I chose The Spanish Coalition — both of those groups are taking care of all of the people from Puerto Rico from the hurricane, and St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen who feed meals to the homeless and see people with no coats.”
Christina hopes her three children will learn from her example. She says it’s important it is to be kind to others.
“It felt good to do,” she said.