Fayetteville, North Carolina—the middle of the night, on the interstate. She was on her way to start a new life in a new place.
She pulled over at a rest area.
It was dark. She was young. A man came from nowhere, forced her into a car, and held a gun to her. He told her what he was about to do to her.
Then, someone kicked open the window and pulled him off. There was a fight. Her attacker was never caught. Her hero was never found. She was unharmed.
“My mom thinks it was an angel,” she says. “I think so, too.”
Birmingham, Alabama—Daryl saw a man walking the highway. He offered the man a ride.
The man said, “No thanks,” and mumbled something nonsensical.
Daryl dove past him the next afternoon. And the next. One day he pulled alongside the man and said, “Please let me do SOMETHING for you, sir.”
The man said, “I’m so scared, dude. Help me.”
Daryl brought him home. He made contact with the man’s sister, who said her brother suffered from schizophrenia. He’d gone missing days earlier.
In a few hours, the family was reunited on Daryl’s front lawn.
“You saved my brother’s life,” said the man’s sister. “And mine.”
Flowood, Mississippi—on Tuesday afternoons, Mary instructs a gymnasium of women, of varying ages and fitness levels, how to dance hip-hop.
One of her students—an elderly woman—had chest pains.
The ambulance came. Mary rode with her to the hospital. She lied to nurses, claiming to be the woman’s daughter so they’d let her into the woman’s room. She called the family.
One emergency open-heart surgery later, the old woman is alive and moving.
“Anybody woulda done what I did,” said Mary.
No. They wouldn’t have.
Southside, Florida—a boy and his mother walked into a supermarket. He pitched a tantrum and kicked her. She let go of his hand. He ran through the parking lot.
A man loading groceries saw the boy sprinting toward an oncoming vehicle.
He chased the boy and pushed him aside. Tires screeched.
The man sustained a series of facial fractures from landing on the pavement.
“Yeah, it messed me up,” he says. “But I’m glad it was me, ‘cause it woulda killed that boy.”
“Glad,” was the word he used.
Anyway, I watched the news last night. It was a mistake. I could only handle a couple minutes.
A few headlines:
Teenager killed by best friend. Man murders wife. Woman raped in home invasion. Politician gets caught with hand in the cookie jar. Amelia Earhart found. Sex scandals. Wildfires. Bear attacks. Nuclear holocaust. Armageddon.
Listen, I know this world isn’t all confectioners sugar and honey bees. I know life is hard, I’m no fool. I know hatred is out there, just waiting to beat the hell out of another victim.
But I haven’t given up yet. I can’t seem to—no matter what the news anchors say.
I don’t mind telling you that I still believe in big things. I believe in people. I believe in kids. Teachers. Janitors. Stay-at-home daddies. I believe in aerobics instructors. Guardian angels at rest areas.
And I believe in you.