Thursday, April 26, 2012

Silent Heroes

There are several variations of what may come to one’s mind when visualizing his or her perception of a hero.  There are comic book heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or even Word Girl.

Many people have benefitted from the heroic actions of the police, firefighters, soldiers, etc.  It is the uniformed men or women whom they see as heroes.  And they are, and deserve to be recognized.
          There are “heroes” who do it for the glory – just to be recognized as heroes.  And there are the silent heroes who work behind the scenes, who don’t ask for recognition, many who would prefer not to bask in the glory.  These are the true heroes.

          Roland is one of those heroes.  He does things out of nature – not because he’s seeking a reward or glory.  He just does things because they need to be done.
          For example, he’s really not mechanically minded, but he will stop to give people a lift or assist where able – whether he actually knows the person (or people) or not.

          One time (many years ago) he noticed an acquaintance waiting at the bus stop.  He offered her a lift just because of his nature.  But for her, it was a heroic act of rescue.  Neither of us knows all the details and so it is only speculation as to whether she woke up late, her car wasn’t running, she had barely missed the bus . . . whatever. 

She  has been grateful to Roland for his actions all this time – and it really wasn’t a recent thing.  Maybe 30 years ago?  Maybe longer.  An incident that Roland probably thought nothing about even in that moment, but in that moment he had become her hero.  And she has never forgotten.

My dad was a hero just by his example – supporting each of us in our dreams – supporting us from “behind the curtains” never feeling the need to set foot upon the stage himself.  And really not wanting to.  He didn’t have a desire for the praise. 

He was wise with money and knew how to budget and provide.  We may not have been financially wealthy, but daddy kept the family together and saw to it that we would take a family vacation each year. Daddy was a silent hero.

I remember being stranded on the road myself.  Kayla and Corey were with me.  Kayla was maybe about five or six.  We didn’t have cell phones then – and payphones were only a dime.  With the car (I believe I was driving the one that belonged to my grandmother, actually) pulled over to the side, I took each of the kids’ hands and started walking.  A man pulled over to see if we needed a lift.

As I pushed Kayla and Corey into the car, I thought: “What am I doing?  I don’t know this man.  He could just try to steal us and hold us for ransom”

But this “grandpa” who had picked us up became my hero for a moment.  As it turned out he really didn’t live too far from my grandma. 

And there’s another time when my neighbor was stranded on the freeway – with at least six kids in the car.  It was the “hippy era” and those long haired freaks had earned a reputation among the older generation which was less than flattering.  But it was two of those long haired “freaks” that helped us to move along.

And then there are the occasional customer service representatives who are serious about resolving my concerns.  Those are true heroes for making me feel like I am more important than a paycheck.

Strange how such little actions on our part can have such a huge impact on somebody else’s.

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