Sometimes, a person’s life boils down to one moment. Will you do the right thing, or will you turn and run?
This piece is based on a Quora question. Link on the last page.
1. When I was 21, I woke up one morning to a girl screaming and banging on my door. I opened my door and saw a girl about 17 years old, she was begging me to help her and as she turned away from me I noticed that her shirt was ripped down the back and there was a huge streak of blood across her back but it wasnt her own.
I didnt even really think about it, she was so young I had to help her. I stepped out of my apartment and as I followed her my next door neighbor came out of his apartment holding a butcher knife that was dripping with blood. He stopped and stared at the two of us for a minute before he ran down the porch and out to his car.
As he drove off I continued to follow her into the apartment hed just come out of. Once I got to the door I saw her boyfriend laying on a pullout couch. He wasnt just covered in blood, hed been stabbed so many times that blood was pouring out of his body. He had just enough energy to sit up, reach towards me and ask for help.
Within in seconds he fell back onto the bed and I just knew he was already gone. She was at his side screaming and crying.
I grabbed her and tried to explain it wasnt safe to wait in the apartment. At first she wouldnt leave him, she kept telling me that we had to do something to save him. I knew he was gone but the only way I could get her out of there was to tell her, he was going to be okay but we had to get an ambulance.
Only one other neighbor in the entire complex actually tried to help, he called the police but everyone else just gathered in a circle and watched. Once I got her to leave with me, I locked us in my apartment and tried to calm her down.
I never really thought it was brave to help and not run back into my apartment and lock the door until I realized how many people just stood around staring at what was going on with no intention of helping.
2. In December 2016, I left the hospital with my two-week-old daughter, Lamees and boarded a 17-hour flight, knowing that she might die in my arms. I was terrified, but I had vowed to sit quietly and not say a word until we landed, even if that meant holding her as she grew cold.
I had approximately 24 hours to get her to safety, our journey would take exactly 22 hours. There was no room for error. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
She was born with a heart condition called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, unfortunately her two missing fingers and small size meant that our hospital decided against surgery. Nothing I did or said would change their mind, they sent her home to die.
So I organized her passport and booked her flight. I had no idea whether the surgeon at the other end would operate but I had no more time to wait. She was already beginning to show signs of distress.
The general consensus, as of the time we took out, was that she had around 24 hours.
We arrived at the airport 10 minutes before check-in closed. The flight had been overbooked – luckily several passengers had not showed up and a kind staff member told them I had already checked in online (I hadnt).
I sat on the flight with a blanket covering me while I pretended to breastfeed and removed the cap on the syringe containing the medicine my baby needed (which wasnt allowed).
The surgeon came in on his day off to meet us when he heard that I had arrived. He was absolutely amazed, and kept saying how much he admired my bravery and determination. I believe this is one of the reasons he decided to do such a difficult surgery, he put his heart and soul into it. He didn’t want to let me down.
My baby gave up her fight 4 days later, but I am at peace knowing that I gave her a chance even though it was the most afraid Ive ever been in my life. I was terrified, but I did it anyway. Love makes you do things you never thought you could. Love makes you brave.
3. I’m 23. I just flunked out of law school during my 1st year. I wasn’t mentally prepared. I called my father and gave him the news. He gave me three days to make a new life plan and call him back. I found a job teaching English in Taiwan within that time.
I move my stuff back home in a U-Haul. Two weeks later, I have a new USA passport and Taiwanese visa sticker. My passport was processed in only 6 hours. This was due to saying please and thank you. The passport processing lady tells me to thank my mother for teaching me manners. 22 hours later I arrive in Taipei.
It finally hits that I’m in Taiwan when the announcement comes on in Chinese in the airport. I went from being lost and depressed to totally rebuilding my life on a different continent in a matter of weeks.
Jeremy M. Thompson
4. I guess it was back in 1974. I found out my cancer (lymphatic) had reoccurred and that I was pregnant the same week.
The doctors recommended that I abort my son , as, in their opinion, I would not make it to term without chemotherapy. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
I made the decision to keep the child, against their advice and my husband’s protests.
I made it, and my son, Brian, was born. I was only allowed to nurse him for two weeks, and the they started chemo. The first few months were difficult. Because of the chemo, I was not allowed to hold him for more than a few minutes at a time (radioactivity).
He grew up to be an Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal (bomb) Staff Sargent in the Air Force and died in 2014. He chose to be a bomb specialist, as that profession saves lives, unlike most other military professions. He was a joy, very adventurous, traveled all over the world.
I think I made the right decision.
5. When I was in the Marines, I knew a guy. He called me one day and said, “I just saw some paperwork. You’ll be getting sent to Japan for 6 months soon, unless you want to be sent to Camp Lejeune (where I had lots of friends). But if you go there, you will join a unit that’s going to depart for Iraq in December, and there’s going to be a war (this was almost a full year before the Iraq War started).”
With this information I spent a few weeks thinking about the various possible outcomes of this decision, and in the end I opted to go to Camp Lejeune because if there was a war, I knew I might make a real difference to a few good men. I’m very smart, fairly strong, and have always performed very well under pressure, and I knew that I could save some lives that might have been lost if given the chance.
During the war I was in a major battle and got blown up inside of an AAAV. I carried two guys with half-blown-off legs out of the vehicle, which by then was basically a fireball on top of a big pile of explosives, on top of 1,000 pounds of fuel.
Today those guys have wives and kids, and that’s a really incredible thing to me when I think about it from time to time.
I chose not to go to Japan a year before the war even started, and now those children exist.
6. I was crossing a park walking home from work, pretty late. I heard male and female voices yelling. About 50 yards away I saw a couple on the ground, struggling. The woman was on the bottom. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
She was screaming “GET OFF ME!” He was holding her arms and laughing. Then he slapped her face, several times.
I looked around but didn’t see anyone. I threw down my bag, took off my heels and ran.I grabbed the guys coat and pulled him off her. I summoned repressed anger. I stood in front of her and screamed at him, STAY DOWN YOU @#%^*&!
He glared at me like a wounded animal, but didn’t get up. He smiled. I kept eye contact while I pulled out my phone and dialled 911.
The woman got up, went over to him, then turned to me. What the hell are you doing?! He wasn’t hurting me. He just gets angry when hes drunk.
I said, Honey, your boyfriend is violent, and he belongs in jail. Hate me the rest of your life, I’m just glad you’re ok.
I’d like to believe that bravery is the supreme act of selflessness. I know what I did was brave, probably stupid. But for some reason, when it’s unappreciated, it feels less.
7. It was December, the nights were cold.
One night while I was returning from work, I heard a womans voice crying out. It was dark around 10:30 PM. There were no people around and the voice came from a bus which was about 20 meters away from the road inside a parking lot. It was darker there.
I sensed something was wrong, I got a steel rod which was lying on the roa,d and without even giving it a second thought I went in there to check. There were two men there trying to sexually assault a woman. One of them came towards me and tried to hit me. I dodged and hit him with the rod. The other guy ran. I gave my woollen jacket to the woman and in the midst of all this the guy who was hit ran too.
I wasn’t trying to be brave. I was just trying to do what was right.
8. The bravest thing that I have ever done was jump off a moving motorcycle. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
I was waiting for a bus. Then he, the son of my dad’s friend, appeared at the bus stop and told me that he was heading my way. I thought why not?
On the way, he turned his towards a wooded area. I protested and asked him to stop the bike. He refused and said something that made his intentions clear. I jumped off his bike without a second thought.
t the road hard and got injured. But I got up immediately and ran towards the main road. He ran behind to catch me. He pushed me hard and I fell down towards the ditch on the road side. I was fighting but I had started to choke.
At that moment, Fortunately somebody on the road heard me and replied. He ran away after that. Then I called my family. I reached home pretty injured but the feeling was of a warrior who had won the war.
9. This is written against the backdrop of a very messy divorce wherein my deranged wife was trying every below-the-belt dirty trick to try and get what she wanted – $12 000 per month for herself so she could live like a princess without working.
Up until our split, we lived in a beautiful house, 2 full-time servants, luxury cars – I did all the work AND looked after our two beautiful, smart and sensitive boys, aged 3 and 5. She contributed nothing, except sleep, coffee meetings, partying and, as I had suspected, affairs!
At this point it is important to note that at this stage we were living apart and the children were living with me – her choice. She was advised by both her lawyer and our independent arbitrator that her chances of getting anything were slim. She went to the Family Court, fabricated physical abuse, obtained an interim protection order forcing me to pay her the $12 000 per month PLUS all the boys expenses, thereby enslaving me whilst simultaneously denying me access to my children.
And then she did the unthinkable. (continued)
Keep reading on the next page!
Under the pretence of taking the boys to a birthday party, she put them on a plane, taking them to a city 1000 miles away to live with her grandparents. The protection order forbade me going within 150 yards of her or her residence.
My boys were so confused – they had suddenly been ripped away, without preparation, from their home. I took advice from lawyers, a psychologist and social workers, all saying pretty much the same thing:- You have to get the boys back quickly!
I caught the last plane that night, fetched a rental car, drove to the suburb where they were staying, put the seat down and tried to get some sleep.
At 6:30 the next morning I drove to the house where they were and parked half a block away. The house was ultra-secure, high walls, electric fencing, CCTV etc. Looking through a gap in the gate I could see my youngest playing in the front garden.
I pressed the buzzer and the gate opened! I walked inside, picked up my surprised youngest in my arms, I was then greeted by the also very surprised maid who knew me, as well as the situation. She asked what I was doing there. I said I’ve just come to drop some clothes and toys off for the boys.
I asked my youngest where his brother was, he said still sleeping and showed me where he was. I picked him up out of bed and carried both, asking the maid to open the gate for me. She asked why and I said I just need to fetch the clothes and toys from the car. She opened the gate!
I ran for the car, one boy on each hip, telling them we were going on holiday, and trying to assure them that everything is OK. I hit the highway, turning my phone off whilst trying to hold back the tears. We drove 8 hours and finally booked into a guest farm in the desert.
That night when I put my beautiful boys to bed my eldest said to me Dad, I want to thank you for saving me, this is the best day of my life.