Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Need for Heroes

Galen lives in a student housing village, and on Friday I dropped him off on my way home. Two little girls ran out in front of us, one crossing the street to get a ball.

Galen muttered something about where the girls' worthless parents were -- harsh, but he is young and doesn't yet know that being a parent is not as easy as it seems...

Two hours later Galen emailed with this: "yeah, so shitty night! Somebodies kid got hit by a car right by my trashcan. doesnt sound good."

It was the same place where the girl had crossed -- without looking -- to get the ball.

When I worked at the hospital in Utah, I worked with a young couple whose sweet little toddler had wandered away from them in a store. As they frantically searched for her, she had toddled through the store, went by the cash registers, out the front doors, through the parking lot, and into a busy street where some poor person driving home from work could not avoid hitting her.

Many people saw that small girl -- and nobody stopped her -- and she died from her injuries. Her anguished father wondered why nobody had been his hero and stopped his child -- he needed a hero and nobody had stepped up.

And now I wonder if I missed a chance to be a hero -- if I had stopped and made the girls take me to their parents and told the parents that their children were in the street -- well, I do not even know if it was the same girl but maybe it was...

I know it is not my fault that a girl was hit and is now in critical condition in another state (she was flown to a pediatric hospital), but I am reminded of the importance of heroes -- those people who do something extraordinary because something just doesn't seem right.

I won't ever again see a child in the street without doing something. I have seen the face of a parent who needed a hero, and I have felt a parent's soul shattering grief -- I am sorry that it took a five-year-old being hit outside Galen's window to remind me that it really does take a village to keep our children safe.

Keep your eyes and heart open for your opportunity to be a hero.


  1. Your writing puts me in tears - Thank you for the reminder...

  2. I love this -- I stop so often, asking the question, "Sweetie, where's your mom?" and there I times I feel like the worst sort of busybody for doing it. But I am there in the ER when those little bodies roll in. Michael has taken the reports, drawn the terrible diagrams, and finally hugged the parents as they wept, because in the end, it's all he could really do. It's worth the time to stop, ask a question or two. But you reminded me why we do it, and I am so glad you did.