Sometimes, since COVID, people will find out I work as a nurse in a NYC ER, and they’ll tell me, You are a hero.
I always always say thanks before assuring them that I am not, in fact, a hero. I’m just an ER nurse who showed up to work in a pandemic. But this post isn’t about me.
I recently took care of a guy who’d had his share of troubles in life. When EMS gave me report, they said, this guy’s special, a real hero. Medics don’t bullshit about this stuff, but I was busy, so I filed it away and got on with my work.
When I had a moment, I ran a search on his name and found a news story. It turns out that last year, he came home to his apartment in the Bronx and found the building on fire.
FDNY wasn’t there yet. So what did he do?
He ran into a burning building and started saving people, of course. Over and over – six in total. When FDNY got there, they found him collapsed on the second floor. Apparently he was going back in to make sure he didn’t leave anyone behind. He suffered permanent damage to his lungs from smoke inhalation.
When I asked him about it, he said, I guess I’m a fucking idiot. I just couldn’t let those people suffer.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a real hero.
They show us who we can be, if only we try.