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February 19, 2016 9:49 am

As Story of Kind Stranger on Train Goes Viral, Israel Electric Corp Releases Recording of Phone Call Revealing More Moving Details

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An Israel Railways train. Photo: Wikipedia.

An Israel Railways train. Photo: Wikipedia.

Following an outpouring of emotion surrounding the generosity of a “good Samaritan” on an Israeli train this week, more details of the story-gone-viral have emerged, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Thursday.

As was reported in The Algemeiner on Tuesday, a man overhearing a female IDF soldier weeping into her cellphone while trying to get her electricity turned back on, in spite of an outstanding bill simply paid the NIS 1,950 (approximately $500) debt with his credit card.

The incident was witnessed by another young woman, also a soldier, who was so moved that she wrote a post on her Facebook page praising the stranger and publishing his name (Ofir Yitzhak) and the photo she snapped of him on the spot, saying she hoped all the people who knew him would be proud of their friend’s selfless act.

The item exploded on the Internet, and on Thursday morning the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) released a tape of the phone conversation, revealing that Yitzhak wasn’t the only hero of the drama, according to nrg.

Shirli Cohen, the operator who answered the call from Dana, the weeping soldier, also was praised on Facebook – but by her employers at the IEC, which was called to task on social media for being insensitive to the plight of the young woman and her single mother of meager means.

Indeed, the recording of Cohen’s handling of the situation indicates that she was trying her best to help the customer. During the call, Cohen is heard attempting to solve the soldier’s predicament, even asking her to hold on to allow her to check into options.

“She’s breaking my heart,” Cohen is heard saying to a colleague. “She’s a soldier. She and her mother have no money. She’s telling me, ‘I paid the last bill with my army salary.’ I have to keep myself from crying. She’s killing me. I have tears in my eyes.”

Later on in the conversation, Cohen is heard telling the soldier that she has found a way to help, and explains in detail about the solution she has found, which involved, among other things, a different method of payment and the assurance to reconnect the electricity.

At that point, a man is suddenly heard in the background. It was Yitzhak, the kind stranger, who took the phone out of the soldier’s hand and informed Cohen that he was interested in clearing the debt. Cohen responds by saying to him, “Give me a moment, because I’m really emotional. Give me a minute to collect myself.”

At the end of the conversation, the stunned soldier gets back on the phone and Cohen says to her: “I can’t stop crying now. Good for him. Don’t cry because I’m also crying.” Choking on her tears, the soldier is heard thanking the operator.

According to nrg, the recording was heard by some 11,000 people within a few hours of its release.

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  • Brenda Bua-ay Villamor

    This act of kindness has reached even to the other parts of the world. You are blessed with such kind of people. May there be found a lot of Good Samaritans in all parts of the world.

  • Peter Schierau

    This is Humanity at it’s highest.

  • Thank you, Mr Yitzhak! You’ve joined my (rather short) list of righteous people. I keep this list to example & school me in righteousness.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    From my tiny room without a widow on the base floor of a large building in Ramot Bet, a northern part of Jerusalem locate over the Green Line, I cannot help but kvell at the decency, compassion, ahavat chinam (love for one’s fellow man), and kindness that this article brings to a Shabbat morning at 4:21 AM. This is why I am proud to be Israeli! This is why I left Chicago at age sixty-four to live in Jerusalem. This story has made my week just a little bit better, my life a little bit fuller, and my belief in humankind just a little bit more positive.

  • Glenda Urmacher

    Every politician from the Prime Minister on down should take a 25% pay reduction and those funds should go to paying soldiers a livable wage.And no one serving in the IDF should have their utilities turned off.
    Spread the payments to all the arabs getting funds from various UN commissions, as the IDF does not discriminate, and protect muslims as well as Jews.