Another incredible episode of “Extraordinary Acts of Courage” aired this weekend on OWN. Everyday heroes at the right place at the right time. As these stories played out, I asked myself what would have happened if no one would have stepped up? So many times you hear stories about people walking by and avoiding eye contact with those in need. BUT finally OWN has a show that reminds us all that there are heroic acts that occur all over the world, all the time. Here are a few of those stories.
When Matthew Lovo fell unconscious behind the wheel of a 140,000 pound truck, his 9 year-old son Mattie and passerby, Chris Howard, found themselves at pivotal moments in their lives. Between extreme fatigue and a newly prescribed antibiotic, Matthew fell into a seizure that rendered him unconscious. His son quickly grabbed the wheel and got onto the CB and radioed for help. As he tried to steady the truck that was heading into oncoming traffic, Chris Howard sprang from his car and entered the cab of the moving truck. The duo was able to bring the rig to a stop with no injuries. The paramedics were called and Matthew recovered. These are the moments where average people like Mattie and Chris allow their inner heroes to show.
Kaleb Eulls was always a protective of his friends and family. With over an hour long bus ride to school, Kaleb and his sisters spent many hours with bus driver, Lucille Boddy. Normally asleep for most of the ride to school, Kaleb missed the start of the drama when a student pulled a gun from her backpack. The young girl began waving the gun in front of Lucille’s face telling her to pull the bus over because she was going to kill everyone. In a panic, Kimberley woke her brother Kaleb and informed him of the situation. As the oldest kid on the bus, Kaleb immediately stood up and took control. He kicked open the emergency exit for kids to escape while he tried to hold the attention of the attacker…not wanting anyone else to be hurt. Once all the kids were off the bus, Lucille called out the girl’s name and when she turned, Kaleb jumped on her, sending the gun across the bus. He then quickly grabbed it and removed the ammunition. At that point, Lucille decided to keep the ammunition and have Kaleb hold onto the unloaded weapon…feeling it was safest to have them separated. That day, by standing up and risking his life Kaleb potentially saved the lives of 22 other people on that bus that day, including the attacker’s. How incredibly brave!
Stephanie Carpluk had no idea that working at a car wash could be so dangerous. Lucky for her, John O’Leary was there when she needed him. Opening the shop that day, Stephanie was all alone. Another cold day with snow on the ground, she found herself bundled up in coats and scarfs trying to keep warm. The safe was kept inside the carwash along a safe side, or so they thought. As she walked along the edge, John sat in his car and caught her in his sight. She tried to open the save but realized something was pulling her back. Her scarf had gotten caught in the spinning brush and was pulling it tightly like a noose. Quickly the situation got bad. Thinking that her neck was broken and unable to get her scarf loose, Stephanie soon was unconscious and pinned to the spinner. John jumped from the car and quickly grabbed his knife from his pocket. He hacked away desperately at the scarf until she finally became free only to fall to the floor. John quickly started CPR and within a short time she started to come around. John O’Leary saved her life.
I truly believe that a hero lies within each of us… a moment where bravery, moral values and a little confidence all come together to do the right thing. I don’t always think that the courage is what holds people back, I think it is the confidence. BUT here is the truth…you don’t have to be an expert at rescue to try. A hero isn’t someone who saves a life. To me, it is someone who stands up and does their best to help others who need them. Confidence to “do your best” is all you need. You don’t have to be perfect. So when that fork of decision appears -“to help or not to help”, remember this… a hero shows up. That is how it all begins.