The Importance Of Life-Saving Sandwiches

| AZ, USA | Family & Kids, Health & Body

I work at a large mine in an isolated area. As a member of our Technical Rescue Team, I have been called many times to assist the local sheriff’s Search and Rescue.

One day in late May, when wildfires less than 20 miles away are suffusing the air with smoke, we receive a page to proceed to a canyon near the state line. This canyon has a highway carved into a steep rock wall, with the debris pushed down into the chasm. In the past, our team had been called to the area to remove the remains of drivers who crashed through the guardrails, so we are ready for the worst.

When we arrive, the SO officers tell us a father and his three sons have “hiked” to the bottom of the canyon and are stranded. They actually scrambled down approximately 600 feet of broken rock, and then found that climbing back up was impossible. It is after 5:00 pm when we arrive.

By the time we manage to get rescuers to the bottom and formulate an extraction plan, darkness has set in. I am the first down, making contact and bringing water and flashlights. Other team members follow close behind, and we move the group (father with sons 6, 7, and 9 years old) to the raise point. One of the team members brought a backpack with sandwiches, granola bars, and water. The boys agree to wait for the sandwiches until we reach the top and gobble up the granola bars (I’ll admit, the one I had was the best ever).

The trip back up the fractured rock pile takes nearly two hours, most of the time at least partially suspended on the main-line rope. There are several small incidents (lost cell phones and tennis shoes, rolling rocks, etc.) on the way up, but topping out and disconnecting was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. The family is rushed to a waiting ambulance for evaluation, and my team leader and incident commander examine the other rescuers and me carefully before allowing us to stow our gear and get ready to leave.

I remembered that I had the sunglasses of one of the children in my pack, so I went to the back of the ambulance and opened the door to return them. That’s when the youngest asked, in one of the smallest, most plaintive voices I’ve ever heard, “But what about our sandwiches?”

When we drove away into the dawn, the father and three boys were standing in front of the ambulance eating sandwiches.

The Store Employs Manual Labor

| Adelaide, SA, Australia | Health & Body

(I’m standing in line with a few items to purchase from a well-known clothing store. The store has its music quite loud, so I can’t really hear anything said between the employees at the front of the line. One dashes past me, almost knocking over a rack of clothes, and grabs the manager by the arm. She says something, the manager turns pale, and tells the other girl on the register something, who looks confused and starts checking people out at lightning speed. All the other employees in the store run full pelt to the changing rooms. I manage to catch some of what the manager says into her phone as she runs past, but all I hear is “I need an ambulance!” I step out of line and drop my clothes to follow her. As I reach the changing rooms an employee stops me from entering.)

Employee: “I’m sorry, miss, but the changing rooms are closed right now. I’ll be able to help you soon.”

Me: “What’s going on? I’m—”

(Mid-sentence I am cut off by a shriek I know VERY well. I unzip my jacket, showing my hospital ID still clipped to my shirt pocket. The employee shoves me through the curtain.)

Manager: “[Employee]! I told you not to let anyone back here!”

Me: “Trust me; you NEED me! I’m a midwife!”

(And that was the day I delivered a healthy baby girl in the changing room at a clothing store!)

Race To Do Good

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Time, Transportation

Many years ago I was doing the Zoo Run 10K at the Metro Toronto Zoo and my boyfriend (now my husband) meets me at the hotel before the race. He says, “I have bad news. On my way to work my tire blew so I can either get it fixed first and miss seeing the race, or we’ll have to skip walking around the zoo after and get it fixed before the garage closes.” I tell him to go ahead and get it fixed first so we can still spend the day at the zoo together. Anyway, I cross the finish line and text him and he texts back, “I’m looking right at you.”

Turns out he went to the Canadian Tire near the zoo and there was a two-hour wait for service. He said, “I know this isn’t your problem, but my girlfriend is doing the Zoo Run 10K right now and it would really mean a lot to her if I was at the finish line.” Apparently they had him in and out of there within 45 minutes.

I emailed the company after and the person who wrote back assured me that those employees would be recognized. They truly went “above and beyond” for a customer.

They Deserve All The Credit

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | Awesome, Honesty

(My husband and I are out for a walk and as we round the corner to our house, we notice a credit card on the ground. This is our conversation with the credit card company.)

Husband: “Hi, my name is [Husband] and we found a credit card on the ground outside and would like to let the owner know it’s been found. Would you be able to help us with that?”

Credit Card Company Rep: “You want to return it?”

Husband: “Yes…”

Credit Card Company Rep: “I have been working here ten years and I have never had anyone call trying to return a lost card to its owner before!”

Husband: *long pause*

Credit Card Company Rep: “Okay, well, once I get the name and the number on the card, go ahead and destroy the card and I will contact our client and let them know the card has been found and deactivated.”

Husband: “Okay! Thank you!”

Credit Card Company Rep: “No! Thank you! You just restored my faith in humanity!”

Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Taxi-ng, Part 2

| Rome, Italy | Kind Strangers, Transportation, Travel

(My friend and I — both poor college students — are visiting another friend at her summer job on a youth camping site near a small village, about one hour from Rome. The plan is to spend her two days off together at the camp, and the rest of the time she will go back to work and we will take day-trips to Rome while staying at the camp for free. For this we have to take a shuttle bus to a small train station outside of the village, and a train from there to Rome. On our second day, we miss our planned train back to the village, and arrive two hours late. It is now 11:30 pm and the camp shuttle bus has stopped. Since the village is so small, there are no taxis at the train station, just a bus once an hour that goes to the village. We decide to wait for said bus and try to find a taxi in town to take us to the camp. That’d probably make our trip two hours longer and far more expensive than planned, but it seems the only way. While we are sitting on the pathway in the dark, somewhat abandoned station, another passenger from our train tries to chat with us. He’s an elderly Italian man, and we both speak only the standard tourist sentences in Italian. The whole conversation is a weird mix of Italian, English, German and gestures.)

Old Man: “You go to [Village]? Not seen you in Hotel yet.”

Friend: “Oh, no, we need to go to [Camp]. No shuttle bus, so we need a taxi from village.”

Old Man: “Camp? You are kids from [Holiday Group my friend works for]? You look old. Run away?” *laughs*

Me: *also laughing* “No, visiting a worker at camp. We’re university students.”

Old Man: “Students can afford taxis? Italian students can’t!”

Me: “It’s the only way. No shuttle bus today, and we need to go home.”

(After this short chat, the man takes out his cell-phone and has a conversation with someone in rapid Italian, before turning back to us.)

Old Man: “Okay, my friend come and drive you.”

Friend: “What?”

Old Man: “My friend, has taxi. Not working this evening but is taxi. So he can come and take you to camp.”

Me: “Really? Did you wake him up?”

Old Man: *laughing* “No, he only watch TV. I say to him, the kids need help; get your a** over here!”

(He said that in perfect American movie English. Not 10 minutes later, his friend arrived with his taxi. They discussed something again in Italian, and the old man told us the fare will be 15€. The driver took us to the camp, a 30 minute drive, and — in the same English+Italian — says he’ll go back and pick up the old man to go home afterwards. We were so surprised about the old man’s help that we felt like we didn’t thank him enough, so we gave the driver a large bag of sweets we had bought in Rome to share on their way home. Our friend at the camp later told us that since the camp is off the beaten path and it was so late, a regular taxi ride would’ve cost us at least 30-40€. I can only say thank you to the old Italian man who barely understood us nor we him, but realised there were two kids in trouble and helped us so tremendously.)

Related:
Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Taxi-ng

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