It was a casual encounter in Harlem that brought the two of them together.
Last year, fourth-grader Luis was outside with his mom and his pet guinea pig, Moochie, when they crossed paths with Brandon Stanton, creator of the Humans of New York blog.
Luis’s mom struck up a conversation with Brandon, who was snapping photos, because she was into photography. She had no idea who he was — or that his blog has 15 million followers on social media.
Brandon recognized Luis’ Success Academy uniform and said he had met other SA kids who are very smart. Luis let Brandon know he is very smart too, especially in math. “Ask me any math fact,” he said — so Brandon did.
When Luis, who is now a fifth grade scholar at Success Academy Harlem West, told me this story, I asked him if he had gotten all the answers right. In a matter-of-fact tone, he responded, “Well, yes.”
On Oct. 14, Luis joined Brandon at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square to help him sign copies of his new book, Humans of New York: Stories. Luis’s photo appears on the cover. Inside, on a beautiful two-page spread, is the sweet, funny story about the day they met.
It doesn’t surprise me that Luis and Brandon have struck up a friendship. Luis is only 9, but he is a mature little adult. He is a kid you can have real conversations with. His mom is right: “Luis is an old soul.” Besides math, he loves music and art, so it is exciting to see that he ended up on the cover of this book. I’m so proud of Luis, and I can’t wait to see what he will achieve in the years ahead.