Stranger says he stepped in to help a woman who was being laughed at while trying to lose weight at the gym
As we enter our third week of 2019, it's becoming clear that most people around us have already given up on their New Year's resolutions. We all know about the folks who have had a cheeky beer when they were meant to be doing dry January, and - looking around the office right now - I can say for sure that at least half the people who committed to veganuary have probably eaten bacon in the last 48 hours.
But for those who are still persevering: good on you - especially if you've taken the plunge and joined the gym.
The first few times in the gym can be incredibly daunting, particularly for people who aren't used to exercise. The workout alone is tough enough, but doing in front of other people just makes the whole thing 10 times more intimidating. And it certainly doesn't help when other gym-goers decide to pick on the newbies.
You wouldn't think this is something that happens often (if at all) amongst grown adults, but it does - and one guy on Reddit recently posted about an incident he had to intervene.
"I was at the gym this morning and a group of two women and a man were very obviously laughing at/talking about another woman who was clearly new and nervous about being there," said the guy, who goes by the username, 'JohnSnow1982'.
"I didn't realise what was happening at first because I had my headphones in, but then I saw one of the women pull out her phone to take a video. The woman they were making fun of knew it was happening and was almost in tears."
Eventually, the woman couldn't take it anymore, and got off the treadmill to leave for the locker room. The man felt bad for not stepping in, and followed her to check if she was alright.
"When I went back to the locker room, the woman was crying and she quietly told me that she didn't know what she was doing but she was trying to learn," he said. "She had recently lost her parent to a weight-related heart attack, and the doctors said she was headed down the same path if she wasn't careful. I told her that we all start somewhere."
And this is where it gets really sweet.
"I asked her to finish working out with me and that I would help her learn what I know, because I was in the same place a year ago."
Even better: he says he also got the three bullies banned from the facilities.
"In the end... three members got permanently banned, and I made a new friend," he said.
"I know we all get frustrated when the gym is busier at the beginning of the year, but it's hard to really understand how much of an impact we can have on other people's journeys.
"Please, PLEASE help others feel welcome...you don't even have to talk to them. Just give them a smile or a nod.
"You could be changing somebody's life."
So, if you're trying to stick to a New Year's resolution, or if you see someone else doing their best to work out at the gym, just remember: getting fit is a learning curve for everyone, and persistence is the main thing that matters.