User Submissions

I’ve had a number of emails lately from people who read the blog.  I wanted to share them with everyone else.  Because I’m that kind of guy…  If you have anything you think I’d be interested in, feel free to send it in.

From Melinda Bossenmeyer:  Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors outstanding young leaders who have focused on helping their communities and fellow beings and/or on protecting the health and sustainability of the environment. Maximum award: $2,500. Eligibility: youth 8-18. Deadline: April 30, 2009.
http://www.barronprize.org/index.html

From Ricky: A TED Speech on Celebrating Moral Heroes
Heard (and saw) Barry Schwartz talking about celebrating moral heroes.  Thought you might be interested if you haven’t come across it already.
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom.html

From Mike of Ven a Gozar: An Heroic Imagination Story
We were on a trip that took us through Denver, Colorado. I had a Mustang with a car top carrier on it filled with luggage. We were on the Interstate, and the topper slid off the top of the car to the pavement and slid to a halt in the middle of the middle lane.

There was a new Cadillac behind us, and the car managed to stop without hitting the carrier. There was a truck behind the Cadillac who was not as lucky and it hit the Cadillac from behind at quite a speed.

I was out of our car and saw the post collision we had caused. The truck had a man in his thirties who was out of his truck and off to the side of the highway. The Cadillac on the other hand had four senior women in it who were still, sitting in the car.

I was walking towards the car to see if they needed help and I saw the gas tank had ruptured and was dripping on the tail pipe of the muffler. Every drip was causing ‘steam’ to rise from the pipe. It dawned on me that as the pipe cooled a little, the gasoline could catch fire, and it would be ugly.

I yelled out what I saw, and the ten or so people now gathered around all stood still and watched to see it happen (or so I imagined). The old women were still in the car, the driver had her door open and should have heard what I called out.

The driver either told the other women what I called out, or they heard on their own. The driver and the rear seat passenger stumbled out from the car. Two other two women were still inside.

No one had moved to help, and I could see in my mind the car blowing up in a raging inferno and the old women being burned alive inside. I could hear their screams in my head already.

I knew I could not stand by and let that happen. The thought of me doing nothing while that happened made me sick to my stomach.

I put the prospect of being burned alive out of my mind, and I walked to the car. I told the women they needed to leave the car and get a way from it, but not why.

The women in the front seat said she did not want to move from the car. The woman in the back seat told me she was too dizzy and did not think she could stand.

I calmly explained that gas was dripping on the muffler tail pipe, and the car could start on fire any second. The women in the front seat understood what I was saying, and stumbled out and over to her two friends.

The women in the back seat however was in her own world, probably the onset of shock. She said she was too dizzy to leave. I was begging her to get out but she would not.

I was momentarily at a loss as to whether to pick her up and carry her or not. She did not look like anything was broken, but at her age, I just did not know.

I kept hearing the sssst, sssst, ssst, as the gas tank dripped. I asked the women if she heard the hissing. She came out of wherever she was long enough to say yes she did hear it.

I calmly explained to her that she was hearing gas dripping on the tail pipe, and the car could start on fire any second. “If you do not get away from the car we may be burned to death right here when the gasoline tank explodes”, I said.

I do not know if it was her selfishness, or concern for me that made her decide to try and leave the car, but she did finally and after more pleading with her. I walked her away from the car expecting to be engulfed in a fireball any second.

A good ending – the car never caught fire, and the four women were all right.

I never gave a thought as to what I did, other than the thought that I could not look myself in the mirror knowing I allowed four women to be burned alive in a freak accident when I could do something to prevent it from happening.

It did not feel heroic, and it did not feel good. I was terrified as I was sure I was going to be burned alive. I put that fear somewhere deep inside of me for those moments, and I did what no one else was willing to do. If I had a choice in the matter I would have preferred someone else had done what I did, but it did not happen.

Now you know, I do not have heroic imaginings, but once at least, I did what had to be done.

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2 Responses to User Submissions

  1. Matt Langdon February 18, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Jessi just sent me this story.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/highschool/rise/basketball/boys/news/story?id=3914375

  2. Christopher February 19, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    Thanks for the link to the TED talk – I can’t get enough of those and that was one that fell through the cracks.