Still Waters: Scenes of quiet heroism

“You give up your seat every day in the train.”

“But that´s not heroic.”

“It is to the person who sits in it.”

This exchange from “While You Were Sleeping” reminds me that “heroic” actions can be found in everyday events often unnoticed and unappreciated except by the recipients.

A small selfless act can be heroic, like giving up a seat on the train or paying for someone’s groceries at the checkout counter. It can be more noticeable and affect more people, like comforting others at the scene of a horrific vehicle crash when you just lost your only daughter.

* * * * *

My father, oldest brother-in-law and I were buying a few things at the Wal-Mart near my folks’ place in Pueblo on Sunday. We were celebrating the birthdays of my father and my younger sister, and on Sunday we were grilling in the back yard. Each of us purchased our own items, with a gent in between my brother-in-law Kevin and me. The man was not that old but was leaning on a cane.

My father and I waited on the other side of the checkout for Kevin, who seemed to be delayed as the man in front of him became frustrated and confused. He was having trouble with his payment card. It was only a few dollars’ worth of items, but he was going to have to put them back. Kevin paid for them. I saw the man give him a hug.

We learned from Kevin later that the gentleman was a veteran who had been seriously injured in service for our country.

The man thanked Kevin for his selfless act, and Kevin thanked him for his service that had cost him so much.

* * * * *

Our youngest columnist Amarah, who speaks for “Kids Like Me” who have had to live in (and many are still living in) terrible conditions because of addicted parents, just turned 14 years old on April 17. She now lives with her wonderful grandmother, and Amarah is using her experiences to help others, which is heroic in itself.

Her grandmother wanted Amarah’s 14th birthday to be very special. She knew that since she was young, Amarah had fallen in love with the “magical signature of Mr. Don Bluth” at the end of Disney movies. Her grandmother said Mr. Bluth’s movies were especially important to Amarah during her early childhood when she lived with her mother in her addiction. Especially “FIEVEL, An American Tale,” got her through a lot of that very difficult time in her life, her grandmother said.

Mr. Bluth called Amarah on her 12th birthday and sent her his # 53 drawing of FIEVEL.

This year Grandma Vicki checked Mr. Bluth’s Front Row Theatre schedule in Scottsdale, Arizona and discovered “The Little Mermaid” was playing on the evening of Amarah’s 14th birthday. Grandma Vicki purchased two, front row tickets for the play. Prior to the play, Mr. Bluth met with Amarah, which was the highlight of her life. “He was wonderfully kind, supportive, and encouraging to Amarah,” her grandmother said. He met with her after the performance as well. “Amarah said meeting Mr. Bluth was the BEST birthday she has ever had.”

Mr. Bluth may never know how much his kindness to a fan meant to her.

* * * * *

This week Pastor Martin Montoya shared with me the experience of losing his only daughter, his oldest child Anisa, in a drunk driving accident exactly five years ago. Anisa, a senior at Alamosa High School, was driving with eighth graders Serina Sena and Selena Mascarenas near a church in Pueblo where they had attended an event. A drunk and speeding driver crashed into their car, killing all three girls immediately.

Pastor Montoya was also leaving the church and was right behind the girls when it happened. He saw the lifeless bodies of these sweet young ladies. Emotionally shocked to the core, Pastor Montoya leaned up against a nearby sign. He felt like God was telling him now was the time to live the faith he had been preaching. He began to minister to others at the scene who were suffering, even when his own heart was shattered.

And God has used his experience to minister to other grieving families ever since. They know that when he talks about a loving Father, his words are real …

… and heroic.