HACKENSACK, N.J. — Spin instructor Carlyle Myrie of Hackensack learned early in life that being a superhero wasn't an option.
That's never stopped him from trying, though.
"As my father would say, 'You can't save the world, but if you can help one person, they will help the next.'"
"My way of impacting this world is just to be a positive influence."
"Someone could be on the edge about to break, and then someone cuts them off in traffic and that's it. Or, you could smile at that same person, and that's all they needed to have a better day."
People who have special needs will always have a place in Myrie's heart. He began working with differently abled people almost 15 years ago in Long Island and continued in special education with the Teaneck school system.
Myrie was among the dozens of employees who were laid off, and there isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't think about the kids he met along the way.
"They really blew my mind," he said. "If we could love like they do, the world would be a better place."
"They hold no grudges. One minute they're mad and the next they're hugging."
"It was too drastic to forget about.
"It didn’t shake my whole world in terms of losing a job. The only thing that changed was that I wasn’t in the school system anymore."
Myrie, who wrote "Autism Speaks" to give his students a voice, still keeps in touch with the families he met in Teaneck and he tries to help out as often as he can.
He had gotten his spin certifications just before he lost his job. Falling into fitness even more seemed like a natural progression for the longtime soccer coach.
"I play a lot of inspirational songs in class and people will say, 'I really needed that,'" he said.
"When you look at them, you can’t tell they’re hurting, but they’re dying on the inside."
People often ask Myrie how he has so much energy when he teaches, especially so early in the morning.
"Every single day that I wake up, I'm thankful that I'm alive," said Myrie, who recently launched a campaign for his former colleague and her son, who has autism, seeking a therapy dog.
He will be holding an all-day fitness class soon and will donate all of the proceeds to the family.
"I just try to help one person and make their day better, even if it's just a smile."