How to Be a Hero

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news at all, you know that last week, three women were pulled from a decade-long imprisonment. A Cleveland man kidnapped the  girls ten years ago and had been holding them in his house, not allowing them to leave for any reason. The horrors those girls know from the last ten years are too hideous to even imagine. 

How they were rescued, though, is what is so interesting to me.

The house sat in a regular neighborhood, with a regular lawn and regular neighbors. But none of the surrounding residents knew anything of the nightmare. 

Until last week, when Charles Ramsey heard a commotion next door. What he heard was the voice of Amanda Berry, one of the captive girls, yelling for help from the front door. So he went over to see what he could do.

Ramsey, a dishwasher at a local restaurant, wasn’t planning on being a hero that day. In fact, he was on suspension from work, which allowed him to be home to hear Amanda Berry’s scream. 

He did something simple. He opened a door—actually, he kicked it open—and freed the women from their ten-year long real nightmare. When he started walking to his neighbor’s house, he wasn’t expecting the following events.

It was small, it was simple, it was just opening the door. Surely he couldn’t have predicted that this act of kindness would make him a hero or overnight celebrity. He took the opportunity set before him, regardless of the outcome. 

What if we all did that? What if we all took the small opportunities we see to help other people? Now I’m not saying that you can or should expect fame from opening a door for someone. But I am saying that you never know how much an act of kindness could mean to someone.

It sure meant a lot to Amanda Berry. 

[Watch an interview with Charles from ABC News here; read a Washington Post article about the whole story here.]

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