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Samalia Swan/Instagram (used with permission)

A street artist captured a woman's delight at having her picture drawn.

On a planet with nearly 8 billion humans living on it, the uniqueness of every single person feels like a bit of a miracle. And yet here we are, each with a distinct personality and life story made up of our own experiences, perspectives, relationships and purpose.

We encounter countless other people during our lifetimes, some of whom we build bonds with and some of whom are just split-second flashes in our line of vision. And then there are occasional precious moments of connection with a perfect stranger, the mysterious magic that happens when two people share a brief interaction that makes a mark in our memories forever.

This is one of those moments.


Artist Samalia Swan was strolling the Saturday night market on Thailand's Koh Phangan island when she saw a sweet, elderly woman selling banana cakes. She sat down across the way and surreptitiously sketched a picture of her.

After approaching the stand and buying one of her banana cakes, Swan gave the woman the picture she drew. Her reaction is sheer surprise and delight—a true testament to the power of being seen.

Watch:

There's something about watching a face that has lived a long life light up, isn't there? The video has been viewed over 18 million times on Instagram, with nearly 2 million likes and over 15,000 comments. People loved seeing the joy in her face and the way she kissed both the money and the drawing with such tenderness.

"How do I buy all the banana cakes?" asked one person.

"Warning should have been 'onions cutting in progress,'" wrote another.

"I don’t think some people understand how powerful it is to make others feel seen," shared another. "You definitely made her day and she’s going to remember that for a long time."

Someone else wrote, "I love kind humans doing kind human things. It makes my eyes tear up and my heart feel like bursting."

"This is so precious," offered another. "Her smile and loving old eyes. She was so surprised. Elders need a purpose and these banana cakes are her purpose.❤️"

People asked if there was a way to raise funds for the woman so she didn't have to work, but others pointed out that she might actually enjoy selling her cakes at the market once a week. Others said it looks like she could have issues with her eyes that could be solved with a simple surgery. Swan shared that she's going to visit again with the woman and find out more about what needs, if any, she has.

"My mission is to spread LOVE & KINDNESS to this beautiful world we live in," Swan wrote on Instagram, and she does that by using her art to show people their own beauty.

"It all began four years ago when I picked up a pen and sketched a stranger in a café," she shared. "The act of giving away that drawing brought me immense joy – a joy of unconditional giving. Since then, drawing strangers has become my cherished hobby, and I do so with the sole intention of giving.✨"

Even if nothing more comes of her interaction with woman selling banana cakes, this beautiful example of human connection is one that Swan, the woman and the millions who witnessed it will remember and cherish.

You can follow Samalia Swan on Instagram.