February 29, 2016, Updated March 6, 2016

An act of kindness by one man spurred a young woman to recount his goodwill on social media and the Israeli public has responded with utter joy.

The story goes like this: An IDF soldier travelling home from her army base by train overheard another soldier on the phone, tearfully begging the Israel Electric Company to be considerate about her family’s circumstances and reconnect their electricity despite an outstanding debt of nearly $500.

As it would turn out, she was not the only one to overhear this heart-wrenching conversation.

A man, later identified as Ofir Itzhak, also heard the distraught young woman telling the electric company that her single mother’s financial aid check from Bituah Leumi (National Insurance Institute) would arrive soon so they could clear their debt. A stranger to the crying woman, Itzhak not only offered to pay the bill but gave the electric company his credit-card details over the phone right there on the train.

Just as cases of strangers paying grocery and restaurant bills for US soldiers have gone viral on the Internet, the IDF soldier who witnessed this happening – Daniel Danino — decided all of Israel needed to hear about this good deed.

Danino’s original Facebook post was quickly shared to other social-media sites. Israeli television talk shows also picked up the story, and schoolteachers incorporated this example of a good deed in motion into their lessons.

“Friends, meet the angel, Ofir Itzhak,” Danino posted next to a photo she took of him with her smartphone. “The man who doesn’t have Facebook, but does have the greatest soul I’ve ever come across!”

She also wrote: “I get off the train with hope and faith in people. There are still those who do things for others without expecting anything in return. I was left with my mouth hanging open, speechless, and full of a sense of pride in being a part of this nation that galvanizes to help others during times of distress. Friends, share this post, so that it reaches people who know this amazing guy so they can be filled with pride as well.”

As the story exploded over the Internet and in local news, a recording of the tearful soldier’s phone call with the electric company also came to light. In Israel, callers are told that their conversations with call centers will be recorded for monitoring purposes. In this case, the call center agent also exemplified amazing kindness in trying to help a stranger.

In the Hebrew recording, you can hear the agent putting the soldier on hold while she calls other departments to try and find a solution for the young woman and her mom.

Hitchcock, move aside: This new version of Strangers on a Train once again proves a culture of caring in Israel second to none.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director