You see some strange sites in the airport, but this one caught my attention right away.
I spotted a young man carrying quite a burden. Not one, but two bags hung from his shoulders. One hand held up a car seat—home to a floppy-eared stuffed rabbit and a pink and purple sippy cup. The other half-dragged, half-carried a collapsed stroller behind him. Here and there a toy peeked out from the folds as it shook and bumped its way down the hall.
Occasionally, the heavy-laden man glanced back with a smile and a wink at a woman who followed closely and the giggling cherub she carried. He didn’t seem the least bit concerned that he was juggling an impossible load that looked like it would crash down around him any moment.
They continued on in search of gate who-knows-what and I smiled and looked back down at my newsfeed. “What a hero,” I chuckled to myself. Wait a minute. Hero. Absolutely! That’s exactly what he was . . . an everyday kind of hero to his wife and little girl.
Here I was reading the latest about men behaving badly when right before my eyes was a man at his best. Enough of the news! Bored and stuck at the airport for a couple of hours, I decided to look for other everyday heroes. Here are a few observations:
When I stepped onto the Sky Rail, a tram that speeds around the airport as you hang on for dear life, most of the men automatically stood up, leaving the few seats available for women. Heroes.
When a card slipped out of my magazine to the floor, a young man wearing the latest technology on his ears noticed, grabbed it, and returned it to me before I hardly realized it fell. (And he had twice as far to bend down he was so tall!) “Thank you,” I said. “Yes, ma’am.” Yes, ma’am . . . how wonderfully polite! Hero.
Two rows up from me on the flight, an elderly man sneezed. A teen nearby with a very suspicious haircut said, “God bless you.” Manners are always a great idea! Hero.
As we were preparing to exit the plane, a petite woman struggled to find her carry-on bag in the overhead bins. She wasn’t tall enough to see. However, she didn’t have to wait long before a fellow traveler came to her assistance. He helped her find it and even got it down for her. Hero.
Of course, these are just small instances I observed on one afternoon of travel. But as society limps along wounded by bad behaviors on display, I think we need to balance justice with hope. There are certainly heroic men and women all around us who risk their lives to keep us safe and who do incredible things. But I believe the little things matter, too.
When I see men stepping into the role of protector and helper, it reminds me to do what I can to raise my son to be an Everyday Hero as well. If he can learn to be a hero in the mundane, he’ll be ready when even more is at stake.
Here are a few hero stories in the news about brave boys and girls that you might enjoy: