IN MY EYES
By Edward B. Antonio
If there is one valuable lesson I learned in high school which has influenced the things I do to date are these words, fellas: Look at something beautiful everyday; think of something beautiful everyday and do something beautiful everyday.
It was taught to us by a late teacher who stood best among my mentors many years ago. She took the story from “The Story of a Slum Girl,” who lived by these three secrets of happiness.
Doing something good everyday is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do, but to some, it has become a habit— sometimes out of instinct. There are many good things to do everyday, fellas, like helping a lost child find his mother inside a wide mall, offering something to eat to a hungry beggar, helping a student do an assigned task or joining a community service to get rid of dengue mosquitoes.
Instincts to help also made heroes out of nobodies in these true-to-life stories, fellas:
In the evening of November 6, 2010, Larry Skopnik, a cripple on a wheelchair, was shopping in the relatively empty Commercial Drive Food Stop store. A nervous-looking man in a black shirt was at the counter, wanting to buy cigarettes. He handed the store owner, Cindy Grewal, a $50 bill. She immediately recognized it as fake and told him she refused to accept the money as payment. The man denied the bill was fake and demanded she give it back to him, but Cindy insisted on calling the police first and having them settle the conflict. This angered the man. He started swearing and arguing with Cindy. He then told her that he was going to rob the store and got behind the counter, where he proceeded to threaten Cindy with physical violence.
Having seen the robber preparing to physically attack Cindy, Larry immediately reacted. He wheeled himself over to them, got behind the counter and pulled the man away from her, wrestling him into a headlock. The robber pulled Larry out of his wheelchair and onto the ground. After a few seconds of struggling, Larry managed to get on top of the criminal and hold him down. A store employee and two other customers rushed to help him and took over, holding down the robber while Cindy called the police. They kept him from escaping until the police arrived and arrested him.
Larry is humble about what he did and doesn’t think it should be a big deal. He gave the credit for his deed to his parents, for teaching him to always stand up to bullies.
This second story describes the instinct heroism of a teacher to save his students. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon on February 23, 2010, the students at Deer Creek Middle School were leaving class as usual when a mysterious strange man walked into the schoolhouse. Without any warning, he pulled out a rifle and started chaotically firing shots into the crowd of students. Two students, 13-year old Reagan and 14-year old Matt were shot.
Nearby, their 57- year old math teacher, David Benke, heard the gun shots and rushed to the scene. Courageously, he ran up to the shooter and tackled him into the ground. The assistant principal and another teacher also rushed to help him, and managed to take the rifle from the criminal.
After the incident, David did not expect any praise or admiration for what he did. All that was on his mind was the worry about his students and even some regret over not having managed to intervene earlier.
This third story tells of a lowly construction worker named Wesley Autrey. It was around one o’clock on January 2nd, 2007, and the 50-year old construction worker was waiting for a subway train with his two daughters, aged 4 and 6. All of a sudden, he noticed a man, 20-year old Cameron Hollopeter, collapse into a seizure and fall to the ground. Wesley immediately ran over to help him, alongside two women. With their help, Cameron could stand up again, but he couldn’t fully regain his balance and was stumbling around. Still dizzy and disoriented, he fell down onto the tracks between two rails. At that moment, Wesley saw the subway train lights – the train had finally arrived, and it was headed straight towards Cameron.
Without hesitation, he leaped down onto the tracks and onto Cameron, covering him with his body and pushing him down into the gap between the rails. The train couldn’t stop in time, and rolled over them so close some grease got on Wesley’s hat.
People on the platform were screaming, along with Wesley’s 2 daughters. The train finally managed to stop after 5 of its cars had rolled over the men. After the train stopped, there was a momentary silence, interrupted only by the crying of Wesley’s daughters. Wesley yelled out that both men were okay, and told people to make sure his daughters know that their father is fine and will be back with them soon.
After 20 minutes of waiting, subway workers came and helped the men back up onto the platform. Cameron was taken to the hospital. He had only suffered bumps and bruises, nothing serious. Wesley, however, didn’t want any medical help, assuring people that he was okay. He went to see Cameron at the hospital and then headed to work as usual. Wesley was very humble about the incident and didn’t see himself as a hero at all. To him, his actions seemed perfectly natural and not anything to make a big fuss about.
Everybody can do something good everyday, fellas. If everybody can be a hero in simple things daily, what a wonderful world would it be!#