Smoke begins to billow inside a California family’s vehicle. A middle-aged woman driving her elderly mother and her two toddlers realizes she has to pull the car over. Cautiously she exits the vehicle, but she leaves her family still in the car. The grandmother unresponsive to the danger stays in her chair and the two children are left helplessly in the backseat, all breathing in the toxic fumes. One would think the adults would act in a proper manner and save the children and exit the burning vehicle. But when you find yourself face to face with danger, you have no idea how you are going to react. Are you going to run to save yourself, be paralyzed by fear, or look to rescue the others in harm’s way?
In these terrifying moments sometimes some good luck can save the day
Thankfully a highway patrol officer was driving behind the family and noticed the unsettling situation. Time was ticking as the vehicle conditions worsened. The officer rushes to the scene while the mother was safe outside the car. The officer hurries to the smoke-filled car and opens all of the doors while shrieking cries roar from the vehicle.
He then rescues one of the toddlers and urgently hands them off to the mother’s arms. He then bolts back to the car to help the second child and gets them to safety. The grandmother’s slow to move is the last to exit the vehicle. Once at a safe distance with the terrifying situation, now, under control the officer and other medics on-site make sure the women are okay and children are breathing properly.
“Bravery is not the absence of fear, but action (the mastery of it) in the face of fear” – John Berridge
During experiences of utter shock, some people are struck with adrenaline, and others are paralyzed with fear.
What makes a hero? And what makes a victim? Is it the split-second decision that differentiates the two? The woman driving the vehicle could’ve pulled the car over and rushed to save the children, and this would’ve been a story told about a brave mother saving her entire family. Instead, it’s the noble act of an officer who was in the right place at the right time to save the day.
Without fear of the consequences that could’ve happened to him, he knew that he had to act to save the helpless passengers. That’s what hero’s do. They are able to act in the presence of danger, to save the people while disregarding the fear for their own lives. Selfless acts to save the innocence of life. This is just one of the countless acts a member of the police force goes through in a day. If it wasn’t for this courageous act who knows how the family would have been saved. People forget how fear works and how sometimes only the brave can conquer it.
“A hero is an individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” – Christopher Reeve
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