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Keanu's (small, ordinary) act of kindness goes viral

Actor and cast member Keanu Reeves, who stars as Neo, arrives for the world premiere of the film "Matrix Revolutions" at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, October 27, 2003.

ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Keanu Reeves has an unusual knack for making the Internet go wild over the most mundane reasons. First, there was the Sad Keanu meme.

Now, a four-month-old video of the actor giving up his subway seat to a fellow passenger has suddenly and inexplicably gone viral.

The 44-second video, uploaded to YouTube on Aug 7, 2011, shows the Matrix star filmed surreptitiously as he rides a New York subway train. As a new wave of passengers boards, Mr. Reeves motions to a woman standing next to him and offers up his seat. He then spends the remainder of the short video standing and holding onto a pole.

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"Keanu Reeves is a gentleman. Yep! Who knew? Hate all you want, but the dude has class!" the text accompanying the clip reads.

In recent days, the video has been featured on numerous news and gossip sites around the world, from Gawker and CBS News to the Agenzia Giornalistica Italia and The Age in Australia. It has now generated more than 940,000 views on YouTube.

If you're wondering what the big deal is about this clip, you're not alone. One YouTube commenter sums up what many probably feel: "Why did I just watch that?"

Others wonder what a high-profile celebrity like Mr. Reeves was doing taking public transit instead of ritzier forms of transportation. Still others question what made the woman deserving of his seat, as they point out she is able-bodied and not elderly.

"I would never give my seat to some woman because she is a woman," one commenter wrote.

Are we so used to incivility that Mr. Reeves's act of courtesy seems unusual?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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