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1 big thing: Eclipse brings out the best

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

After yesterday's total solar eclipse, we heard from readers about heartwarming moments and random acts of kindness witnessed across the country, Erica writes.

👓 Case in point: I ordered eclipse glasses, but the delivery was delayed. I headed up to the roof of my building in Hoboken, N.J., thinking I might get a glimpse of the magic through my phone's camera.

  • It took less than a minute before neighbors I didn’t know offered me glasses. I'm so glad they shared, and I got to witness something rare and incredible.

Many readers shared similar stories with us. Here's a selection of them:

🗽 "A simple story and probably one that happened thousands of times yesterday. I took five minutes to join my friends in midtown Manhattan and take in the eclipse. Didn't have glasses so planned to just enjoy the moment."

  • "A colleague was headed back in and handed me his. Someone else had given them to him. I was thrilled to get a nice view for a few minutes. As I went back to work, I handed the glasses to another colleague coming out. I imagine they changed hands a few more times. It says a lot about human kindness and the power of shared experience." —Andrew Gray, NYC

🏢 "I went outside yesterday with my DIY pinhole camera, and a neighbor in my apartment complex with whom I've never spoken asked me if I had eclipse glasses. When I said no, he dropped a pair down to me from his second floor balcony. ... It was very sweet, and I was grateful to have the chance to see such a rare event!" —Lucas Hicks, Lansing, Mich.

👧 "We were at the eclipse in Jamestown, N.Y. Unfortunately, there were too many clouds to see totality, but we experienced the few minutes of darkness. When totality was over and the light was returning, a girl of about 5 or 6 near us said to her family, ‘Can we do it again?'" —Libby Yoskowitz, Huntington, N.Y.

⛽ "My husband and I were driving back to Michigan from New Jersey on Monday. We did not get eclipse viewing glasses ahead of time.

  • "When stopping for gas just south of Flint, a gas station employee was going around asking if people had seen the eclipse and if we wanted to briefly use his glasses. It was such a small act of kindness, but so thoughtful and appreciated." —Kristie Bach, Traverse City, Mich.

🔭 "Some friends and I braved 15 hours of traffic to see the totality in Newport, Vt. Totally worth it! There was a dizzying array of complex expensive camera and telescope hardware, and the owners were delighted to share their knowledge of the eclipse. Science brought people together, and everyone was stunned by the experience." —John Montgomery, Jersey City, N.J.

🐕 "As my husband and I were sitting on our front walk patiently watching the moon cross into the path of the sun, a younger man I had never met walked past with his dog, Sam, seemingly oblivious to the celestial event taking place. I left my chair, greeted Sam and gave the stranger my eclipse glasses, and had him use them to witness the cosmic milestone." 

  • "Each and every one of us has a human urge to share such experiences with someone, and we should always act on those instincts. We should never ignore those urges, as they are what will truly help us to remember that what we see or read in the news is not how most of us really live our lives." —Lynne Crehan, Martinsburg, Pa.

🍽️ Chart to go: Eclipse eats

Map of US with restaurants along path of totality experiencing higher traffic
Chart: Square

As Americans traveled to be in the eclipse's path of totality on Monday, many of those local economies got a boost.

  • Restaurants in the path experienced higher than usual traffic, according to data from the payments platform Square.

Hill County, Texas, saw restaurant transactions jump 577%, Caledonia County, Vt., saw a 505% bump, and Somerset County, Maine, 441%.