Most people think that heroes are the individuals and fictitious characters that are presented on TV. Heroism is generally associated with admirable, impressive feats, such as rescuing a small child from a fire, winning a war or developing an innovative, revolutionary medicine. People are usually impressed by such heroics and inevitably fantasize about the situations in which they might have the opportunity to act in the same manner. Very often the intended heroism is limited to nothing more than a long-term waiting, as nothing globally threatening happens that allows for an honorable, heroic intervention when you want to get poster presentations fast.
For the most part, individuals experience small, seemingly uneventful episodes that allow them to become heroes in the eyes of their families. One such episode that I experienced (and which made me reconsider my views on life) occurred when I was a young child. I was at the florist with my father; it was St. Valentine’s Day and the store was filled with people who hurriedly bought flowers. There was, however, an aged man who stood apart. By his appearance it became clear to me that he could not afford buying flowers. This man was neat, well shaved, and tidy, but his clothes were old.
The man, after much pondering, finally asked a saleswoman for one mimosa. She simply snapped back at him and continued serving her clients. I asked my father why she did not sell the mimosa to that aged man, but he did not respond anyhow. Instead, he went over to the saleswoman, bought a beautiful bouquet, and offered it to the aged man. He refused to accept the bouquet at first, but my father insisted and eventually convinced him to accept it. My father and I got to know that this man wanted to buy some nice flowers for his wife. They had been married for thirty years and she was ill on that day. Upon hearing his story I was touched and offered him some candy I carried in my pocket. As we left I noticed how old the man was which became obvious from the difficulty he had in walking.
As we drove home I spotted the man walking on the sidewalk. He was sweating profusely, and upon seeing him I felt terrible. I could not help but ask myself how I would feel if that man were my grandfather. After a brief moment of deep thinking I asked my father if we could help the man. We offered him a ride, but he politely refused initially. At that time I thought that I wanted to go home for my piano lessons. However, I also thought about the man and wondered how he would get home if we did not offer him a ride. With tears in my eyes, I took the man’s hand and told him not to worry, because we would take him to his house no matter how long we should drive. My father was so proud of me; he could not believe that at such a young age I thought about someone else not about me.
We took the man to his beautiful small house. He was very happy of having the gift to give his wife. We met his wife; she got very happy when she received the flowers and my eyes welled up because of her reaction. The man thanked us and I asked if we could write him some letters; at the time telephones were rare. I grew up communicating with that man; almost every month I would write him and he would respond, but he was killed in a car accident. I was hurt by his unexpected death. However, I eventually came to terms with the harsh reality that death is inevitable. Moreover, I still read his old letters from time to time.
These small every day heroes are not globally noticeable. However, not only do they change the world for the better, but also give a good example for our siblings and children. I believe that people who are changing our world for better every day are more capable of saving it at difficult minute than those who are waiting for a time in which they can perform the kind of heroics they see on TV.