My sister, the hero
Sometimes being a superhero isn’t about winning the day and battling off giant monsters or saving the world from killer robots.
Those guys in the spangly outfits and shiny metal suits get the movie deals, comic books and have sweaty fanboys and fangirls dressing up like them at conventions. But those aren’t real heroes.
Real heroes are people who take action when other stand idly by. They do something when others do nothing. They reach out a hand when others turn away.
In the superhero movie “Deadpool,” the character Colossus gives the following advice on being a hero: “Four or five moments - that’s all it takes to become a hero. Everyone thinks it’s a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you’re offered a choice to make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend - spare an enemy. In these moments everything else falls away.”
My sister, Darci, is a hero.
Darci is a few years younger than me. She is a single mom with a teenage son and elementary-school aged daughter. She is the human resources manager for a chemical company in Philadelphia. In addition to having an encyclopedic knowledge of federal workplace rules and an ability to explain it to people who aren’t lawyers or human resources professionals, she volunteers and is an asset to her community.
These traits help make her a genuinely good person. What puts her into the hero status, is that she is not afraid to take action.
Several years ago there was a fire at my sister’s workplace. As you can imagine, a fire at a chemical plant is a very big deal. While others were scurrying to safety, my sister was making sure everyone was accounted for and was where they were supposed to be. She saved lives that day, but claims she was just doing her job.
Last Wednesday, Darci was called from her desk because a 65-year-old man was unresponsive in the plant. When she got there, there were people standing around unsure of what to do, afraid to get involved.
Darci took action. She checked to see if he was breathing or had a pulse. Finding none she started CPR and continued it until the EMTs arrived and took over and took him to the hospital.
She then went back to her office and called the man’s wife and children letting them know what happened and that their loved one was on his way to the hospital.
Unfortunately, they were unable to revive the man. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Anyone who has taken CPR training knows the odds are stacked against you. But long odds are better than the 100% failure rate of taking no action at all.
Darci doesn’t think of herself as a hero. She has spent sleepless nights second guessing and doubting herself, wondering if she had been quicker to react or had done something different would the outcome have been different.
I imagine the same things goes through the heads of other heroes. The firefighters who are unable to save someone from a burning home. The sheriff’s deputies and EMTs responding to a fatal car wreck. The emergency room doctors and nurses unable to bring someone back from the brink of death.
The litany of doubts goes on and on in a mournful prayer of “If only . . .”
I am proud of my sister for being a hero and taking action. I hope that some day if I or a loved one is laying nonresponsive on the floor someone equally as brave as her takes action.
We all like happy endings, but the world doesn’t work that way. The best we can do is to prepare and not be afraid to take action when necessary. When the world calls on us to be heroes we must be willing to stand up and take action.