Deep down, way deep down, deeper than the part of us that sings along to the new Taylor Swift song when no one else is around, is the unavoidable truth that we all believe we’re just one freak incident away from being a total hero. We may not be Sylvester Stallone, and we may not be volunteering to run into a burning building anytime soon, but dammit if we aren’t some of the most admirable potential heroes out there. If it happened to these people, it could happen to anyone.
The professional fire extinguisher installer
Say you’re zipping down the highway, minding your own business, cranking your Taylor Swift, when suddenly you see a crowd gathered on the side of the road. They’ve been trying in vain to rescue a woman trapped in a burning car. If you’re most people, you either pretend you didn’t notice and keep driving, or you park to stand with the crowd and talk about how terrible it is that you can’t pull the woman away from her impending death.
But if you’re a man named Eddie Hall, you pull over and immediately go into superhero mode because you’ve got 18 portable fire extinguishers in the back of your van. Hall worked as a portable fire extinguisher installer and was on his way to a job that morning. He handed out his bounty of fire extinguishers to the other good Samaritans that had assembled, and together they were able to extinguish the flames and save the woman.
The defibrillator salesman
Yep, add that to the that’s a job? list, right after fire extinguisher installer. Like Eddie Hall before him, Gavin McDonnell of New Zealand became an accidental hero when an 80-year-old man a few aisles over in a hardware store collapsed. He was having a heart attack.
Luckily, so very luckily, McDonnell had set up a defibrillator product demonstration in the hardware store that day. When someone ran over to tell him he had the world’s greatest defibrillator product demonstration volunteer in the entire world lying on the floor just a few yards away, McDonnell ran over with his defibrillator and managed to bring the man back from being clinically dead. The man would survive, and McDonnell proved the efficacy of his products.
The superstar swimmer
While we’re going to go ahead and admit that it was purely good luck that made heroes out of Eddie Hall and Gavin McDonnell, and it could have been any one of us, surely, that is not the case for this last story. Shavarsh Karapetyan was a world-record holding swimmer from Armenia out for his daily 12-mile jog when he saw a bus go crashing into a lake. Since this happened in 1976, well before the advent of cell phones, Karapetyan couldn’t even call for help before he went plunging into the freezing cold lake after the bus.
The Sylvester Stallone of the group, Karapetyan was able to kick in the back window of the bus and begin rescuing these previously-doomed passengers. When it was all over with, Karapetyan had completed 30 30-foot dives into the lake, saved 20 people, and fell into a coma for 45 days due to exhaustion, hypothermia and blood poisoning. Due to the extensive damage his body suffered, he would never swim again. He would, however, drag a bunch of people out of a burning building 9 years later.
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