The recent “Frankenstorm” that hit the Northeast and left such devastation in its wake gives us pause. We can feel sympathy for the terrible losses in lives and property those people sustained and the suffering they continue to endure. But we can also marvel at the heroism of ordinary people who came together at such a time and exhibited true selflessness. It has been said before and it needs to be said again: the true heroes are the ones we hear very little about. They are the ones like the medical personnel at New York University’s Langone Medical Center who acted quickly when the storm knocked out the power in their hospital, including the backup generator. They moved 300 patients, including a number “preemies” whose lives depended on the fluids being pumped into their tiny bodies from equipment driven by the electrical impulses that suddenly stopped. None of the lives was lost, due to the determined and selfless actions of a group of people who quietly save lives every day. And there are the dozens of volunteers who are currently taking meals door to door to senior citizens trapped in their apartments on Staten Island where things are growing more tense with each passing day. There are countless more people whom we will never read or hear about who came forward to help others during the storm and the aftermath.
But there are also small stories we hear about that did not emerge from the hurricane — like the high school football team in Queen Creek, Arizona who befriended a 16 year-old girl who was subjected to such bullying that she went home each day in tears. As we are told in a brief Huffington Post story:
Players including the star quarterback have rallied behind Chy Johnson, a 16-year-old special needs student who was tormented by kids at school, reports 3TV News and azfamily.com.
The players now eat with her at lunch and watch her back.
Chy is now a happy kid who looks forward to school each day even more than she used to fear it. I like to think I am a realist. But my world view borders on cynicism when it comes to the stupidity I see in my fellow humans each day. I have voiced my feelings on numerous occasions in these blogs. I mean, really, how can this presidential race even be close, for Pete’s sake? And why on earth are we still discussing global warming while the Midwest suffers from serious drought, freakish storms tear apart lives in the Northeast, and the oceans rise as the ice caps continue to melt? But there comes a time when one must acknowledge that there is good in most of us. We just seem to be unable to bring it to the light much of the time. It takes a crisis such as a major storm or the repeated bullying of an innocent young girl whose plight suddenly is seen as unacceptable by a group of her fellow students.
The interesting question is why it takes extraordinary events or situations to bring out the best in each of us. Given the widespread need of hundreds of thousands of people on this planet every day, why do we wait until pushed to the extreme before we allow ourselves to feel sympathy for our fellow humans and take action? These questions will continue to nag at me; but I give thanks that there are a great many people who are compassionate and capable of selfless acts. These are the true heroes and they give us hope.