You see it in the movies all the time. Mainly in spoof sections of comedies when a extremely handsome super-hero looking dude rushes in front of a speeding train to save a damsel in distress. Usually the outcome is met with, “Oh my god, thank you kind sir, you saved my life”. With hands on hips, and a shine in his eyes, the super-hero, or “Jack” always replies, “That’s o.k ma’am, just doing my job”, before flying off backwards into the sunset.
It’s like all superhero myths that have been conjured up since the beginning of time. There is always that obsession of someone there looking over you to make you feel safe. The problem is that, when someone tries to be a hero in this day in age, it isn’t met with the same prestigious recognition. For all of us who grew up watching Dr. Who send a Darlak back into the void to save millions of people, this is a big disappointment.
The reason I am writing about this is because my super-hero moment happened to me today. Walking with my iPhone headphones in listening to The Weepies, I traveled to my local shops to grab a few essentials. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a young toddler run after what looked like one of those super bouncy super-balls and about to run directly underneath a Nissan Patrol. Without thinking, I stepped out, grabbed the boy, turned my back, and took the full brunt of the Patrol directly into my tailbone. At first, I was shocked I reacted so quickly, followed by an Anthony Mundine moment of, “Hell yeah I still got it, maybe I can get into that basketball team after all next year”. This all happened in about 9 seconds before a surprisingly calm mother walked over, grabbed the child, and walked off without even the slightest bit of gratitude that I just saved her child from possible death.
With the confusion of what just happened setting in, and a completely overwhelmed driver congratulating me by patting me hard in my freshly car-smashed back, it was more of a shock that the mother didn’t say thank you. Why was the lack of gratitude of this selfless act more painful then actually getting hit the car. One of the reasons most likely is that my 120kg 6’6″ Maori frame did more damage to the guy’s car then it probably did to my back. But the real reason is that subconsciously we all deserve to be shown gratitude for the good deeds we do, in order for our brain to logically let us continue to do them. Without gratitude, random acts of kindness seem pointless and we start to feel jaded. This happened to me today, very badly. But I was able to bring myself out of it fairly quickly by thinking, ‘if I didn’t react and the boy got badly injured, the feeling of helplessness would have been dramatically worse.’
Now, the weird thing is I see random acts of kindness all the time. Maybe it’s the type of people I associate with, which always makes me believe it’s second nature. One of my best friends Rome is constantly on the mission to help others around him without reward. My friend Tania is always doing random acts of kindness including bringing food she had cooked to people cause she loves the fact people appreciate her sharing her kick-ass cooking. Tania’s mother, Rosa, posted me a book out of the blue when my friend passed away from complications due to childbirth.
So if you look at the whole picture of people who actually care about others in this day in age, the percentage is frighteningly small. In a world of increasing financial and personal pressure, you can see in people’s eyes that events which involve opportunism regardless of how it came about, they see it as a deserved win. Whatever problems or stress that mother from today has endured in her life, obviously saw today as a win the universe owed her, not that she now owes the universe for saving her son’s life.
But I am not going to change anytime soon. Today’s events, and however I feel about it now, it dwindle by the time I finish writing this blog. I feel gifted to have the ability to be able to do things like that today, and proud of the people around me that also believe that. The lighter side I took out of today is I know I still have the reaction times to pull of my signature 3 point jump shot when I start my basketball season in Sydney next year. Maybe I should wear a batman suit.