David Bruce: The Kindest People: Heroes and Good Samaritans (Volume 2) (Free PDF)

5. “Chargers Fans are Amazing. We’re Like a Family”

On 1 September 2011 during the San Francisco 49er preseason game with the San Diego Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California, Club-level server and mother of four Heather Allison tripped and dropped approximately $1,000—$170 in tips, and approximately $830 that was supposed to go to the concession. The money went everywhere, including over the railing into the lower Field section. Ms. Allison said, “All my customers began screaming over the railing to the people below, ‘That’s the servers’ money.’” People everywhere began collecting the money for her. In approximately 10 minutes, a security officer brought her a bunch of money. She said, “It was all there. Chargers fans are amazing. We’re like a family.”

6. “Get Him! Get Him! He’s Drowning!”

During June 2011, NFL players endured a lockout and so could not attend training camps. This worked out excellently for six-year-old Bryson Moore because instead of attending training camp, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Leonard “Champ” Pope, an African-American, was around to save his life. Young Bryson fell into the deep end of a swimming pool in Americus, Georgia, on 11 June 2011 while attending a cousin’s birthday party. His mother, Anne, began to scream, “Get him! Get him! He’s drowning!” Neither she nor the people around her could swim. Mr. Pope, who had learned how to swim at age nine, was inside a building, and when he heard the screams, he came running out to the pool. At first, he could see nothing. Then he saw a pair of hands sticking out of the water. Mr. Pope immediately dove into the water with his clothes on and with his cell phone and his wallet. Mr. Pope dove deep, grabbed Bryson and brought him to the surface, and gave him to his mother. Anne did not thank him right away; she was too concerned with getting her son to a hospital, where no medical problems were found. On the phone later, she told Mr. Pope, “If I’d had a million dollars, I’d have given it to you right there and then.” Immediately, Mr. Pope became known as a hero, although he did not know that right away because his cell phone was ruined, and he did not get another one for a week. He said, “I was having to borrow people’s phones at the airport. Perfect strangers. I finally called my girl, and she said, ‘Where have you been! Call your agent! Call your auntie! Everybody wants to talk to you!’” Sportswriter Rick Reilly says, “Say what you want about pro athletes, but if you’re in trouble, they’re very handy to have around. Not only are they genetic superhumans, but they’ve been trained to react in an instant, to jump in where others fear to go and to execute flawlessly in chaos, whether it’s a double-reverse handoff or a mother screaming for her drowning child.”

7. “He Can’t Breathe! He Can’t Breathe!”

In July 2008 at Capone’s restaurant in Huntington Beach, California, Ken Hunter, a shipping company manager, started choking on a piece of meat. Fortunately, Kansas City Chief tight end Tony Gonzalez was there to save his life. Mr. Hunter said, “Tony saved my life. There’s no doubt. Tony came up behind me and gave me the Heimlich maneuver. Thank God he was there.” Mr. Hunter added, “I tried to take a drink of water, but I couldn’t swallow. Then I couldn’t breathe. That’s a terrible feeling. I couldn’t breathe. Then I guess I started to panic.” The screaming of Mr. Hunter’s companion alerted Mr. Gonzalez to the crisis. Mr. Gonzalez said, “She was screaming, ‘He can’t breathe! He can’t breathe!’ The whole restaurant was quiet. Nobody was doing anything. Then I saw he was turning blue. Everybody in the restaurant was just kind of sitting there wide-eyed.” Mr. Gonzalez then performed the Heimlich maneuver on Mr. Hunter. Mr. Hunter said, “After just a few seconds, the piece of meat popped out. I could breathe again. It’s a good thing Tony is so tall because I had stood up—I think.” Diana Martin, a restaurant employee, said, “He was so lucky Tony was there. In a situation like that, every second counts. It helped a lot that Tony’s a big, strong guy because you have to be able to apply some pretty good pressure. I don’t think I would have been strong enough to help him.” Mr. Hunter washed up in the restroom and then came out and realized that an NFL star had saved his life. Mr. Hunter said, “I’m a big NFL fan, and I recognized him right away. I was still kind of dazed when I went over and thanked him and said, ‘What can I do for you?’ I guess I said it about 1,000 times.” Mr. Gonzalez said about the Heimlich maneuver, “I had seen it done, so I just did it. When you find yourself in those situations where you have to take action in a crucial situation, you just do it.” He added, “I honestly don’t want to make a big deal out of it. But of course it does give me a lot of satisfaction to know that I was able to help somebody.” Mr. Hunter is a long-time San Diego Chargers fan, but he said after the rescue, “I’m Tony’s No. 1 fan now.”

8. A Hero is Someone Who Risks His or Her Life to Help Save Another Person. Sometimes the Hero Actually Gives His or Her Life

A hero is someone who risks his or her life to help save another person. Sometimes the hero actually gives his or her life. On 29 June 1983, Kansas City Chiefs star running back Joe Delaney, an African-American, heard the screams of three young boys drowning in a pond in Chennault Park in Monroe, Louisiana. Mr. Delaney asked other people to telephone for help, and then he went into the pond—although he couldn’t swim—and managed to rescue one of the boys. He went back in the pond, but he and the two other boys drowned. Columnist C.K. Rairden wrote, “This was not a trivial feat that Joe Delaney performed. He gave his life in an attempt to save three children that he did not know. His selfless act produced more results than he could have ever delivered on any football field. He managed to save one child’s life at an extraordinary cost. His three children would grow up without a father and his young wife would be widowed. In this instance Joe Delaney’s sacrifice saved one child, and in his selfless thought process, it was worth it.”

9. An Eccentric, and a Kind Man

Baseball pitching great George “Rube” Waddell was definitely an eccentric. Occasionally, he would leave the dugout during a game in order to follow a passing fire truck so he could watch the fire. As a joke, he would sometimes “catch” his own foot instead of the baseball, but he was such a good pitcher that normally he got the next batter out on strikes. By the way, he was a kind man who carried bags of peanuts in the pockets of his baseball uniform so he could throw peanuts to kids watching the game.

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