When a recovering heroin addict made an appeal on the popular social media site, Reddit, for a hot meal to tide him over until his next disability check – due to liver disease – arrived, he was not sure what kind of response to expect.
Reddit has been known for its heartless trolls and comments that can be downright cruel. However, a surprising thing happened when Tommy Castelli of Vancouver asked the users of the social media giant for help. A heartwarming response poured out and people began to drop off sacks of groceries, a few home-cooked meals and other miscellaneous items to help him get by. Castelli was impressed and humbled by the response, but he was perhaps most surprised by a conversation about Sikhism spawned by his request for a safe place to find a hot meal.
Castelli says he was “really moved” by the advice offered in his request thread. Some Redditors (the name users of Reddit have adopted for themselves) sent Castelli private messages offering groceries and tickets for free meals at a nearby community center. Another Redditor posted in Castelli’s thread a directory for local Sikh temples, pointing out that Castelli could go to a Sikh temple and have a meal anytime. From there, Castelli says, they had “a really great conversation about Sikhism,” where different users contributed further comments and one expanded on the “langar” concept of Sikhism wherein the gurdwara kitchen serves meals to visitors at no charge. The user told Castelli that he would “be welcomed there for free food, free of judgment” and that “nothing will be asked of you in return.”
Castelli says he has not yet visited a Sikh temple for a meal, but plans to do so with other Redditors.