Friday, January 19, 2007

The Right Thing

Wesley Autry is the 50-year-old Navy veteran
who was at a New York subway station waiting, with his two
daughters, for a train. When a 19-year-old man started to have
a seizure, Autry used a pen to keep the fellow from biting his
tongue. Later, when he had recovered and began walking down
the platform, the young man lost his balance and fell onto the
tracks, as a train approached. When he could not pull him out,
Autry jumped in and lay on top of the young man, between the
two rails, hoping the train would pass over them safely.

It did . . . and Autry is getting the praise and recognition
he deserves, but apparently doesn't want. He simply did
what we all think (or at least hope) we would do given a
similar situation. "I'm no hero," he said. "You should just
do the right thing."

The right thing.

Like the single mother who works two jobs, and gets up
every morning at 5 a.m., bone-tired and chilled by fatigue,
to make sure her kids have a hot breakfast, clean and
pressed clothes, and a lunch to take to school.

Like the teacher's aide, who instinctively wraps her arms
around the autistic child in the classroom who is starting
to get agitated and needs that comforting strength to get
him through those moments.

Like the fellow in the church who makes sure that a friend
who is battling cancer gets a call every day to check up on
him, and the woman at the retirement center who motors
around in her wheelchair seeing how her neighbors are doing.

They will never get the recognition Autry has gotten but,
like him, don't want it. They know, like Autry said, that
good things happen when you do good - things like grace,
like joy, like hope, like life. Simply by doing

the right thing.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

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