67,760 heroes and counting
Strangely enough, I sometimes struggle to find stories of Kindness. Sometimes I have to reach into the corners of the Internet to pull goodness out of the darkness. Sometimes a story is nice, but is it kindness?
It seems silly to be so nuanced about kindness, but there’s a reason I take this daily segment as seriously as I do. I’m trying to show you humanity – the kind that bores down into the core of your heart and, if you’re anything like me, builds a wall of water in your eyes.
My gut told me to avoid the shooting all together in my Daily Dose of Kindness segments. I wanted them to be an escape from the constant horrors we’re exposed to in the news. But the heroism we’re hearing about out of Las Vegas should be held up on a platform. This is humanity. It’s kindness to the 1,000th degree.
Rules be damned!
First, know that there are (right now) 67,760 individuals who are so kind that they donated to the Las Vegas GoFundMe page for the victims of the shooting. Imagine everyone that can fit in the seats of CenturyLink Field plus an additional 760 people donating, and that’s a whole lot of kind people.
And then there are the thousands of people who, instead of opening their wallets, opened their veins. There’s been a line outside of Las Vegas blood banks since the day of the shooting. The act of giving has been made easier since Uber is offering free rides in Las Vegas to blood donation centers. And our own Bloodworks Northwest has reported an uptick in donations because even if you’re miles from the scene of this massacre kind people know there are still ways to help.
Airlines have stepped up to the call for kindness, too – waiving fees associated with changing flights. In a step further, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air decided to just flat out give free flights into the city for the families of victims.
The stories of individual Heroes are plentiful, too. We should all be so lucky to share a planet with them. NBC reunited a survivor with one of those Heroes this morning. Tom McIntosh and James Lawson hug tightly and talk about what happened that night.
Tom was shot in the leg and says he had made it over a wall and out of the line of fire when he collapsed.
“By the time I got over the wall my pants were already soaked and my shoes full of blood so I wouldn’t have made it. I know I wouldn’t have so … I’m very thankful that James was there to help me,” Tom recalled.
James, too, was running for his life. But the former Army Reserves member and trained EMT stopped to help a stranger.
“We were getting away and we came across him. He was in the bed of a pickup truck. There was a belt – a makeshift tourniquet – that was kind of around his knee. It was the completely wrong spot and I just walked up there, he was actively bleeding, so I adjusted the belt, got it up where it should be, tightened it down. We stopped the bleeding,” James said.
From there they both say another Hero came along in a maroon pickup truck. He offered to drive Tom to the ER and that’s how his life was saved. Both want to find the driver of that truck to thank him, too.
So, in the most nuanced way, I know this isn’t kindness. This is heroism with a capital ‘H.’
You can hear Colleen O’Brien’s “Daily Dose of Kindness” segment every morning at 7:30 a.m. on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM