Last week I saw an interesting post on Facebook titled: “Seeking Kelowna, BC Firefighter named Brent.”
The 300 word post was written by a man named Tom Argall from Brampton, Ontario. He explained that his mother had just been visiting Kelowna and had tripped on a bit of raised sidewalk, falling hard, breaking her arm and bruising her face. Luckily an off-duty firefighter was driving by, stopped and came to her rescue.
Tom ended his post with this:
“I want to thank Brent. I’m over two thousand miles away and I don’t know his last name, but I’m appealing to the six degrees of Facebook to send the message. If you are reading this and you know a Kelowna, B.C. firefighter named Brent, please thank him for me. Shake his hand, hug him, buy him a beer, whatever your preferred expression of gratitude may be. Last Wednesday, wherever he was going, whatever he had planned for the day, whatever was happening in his own life was suddenly irrelevant and secondary to him because a total stranger needed help. We need more people like that in the world.”
He posted his two paragraphs on Facebook a week after the accident on May 1st. Before going to bed that night he was pleasantly surprised it had already been shared by 99 people. When he awoke in the morning he was amazed it had been shared over 250 times. By May 3rd, his request had been shared by a whopping 2400 people, and within an hour of me sharing it, Brent’s last name was revealed as Beselt.
But Tom already knew that, because, by then, he’d received a message from the man he was looking for.
“I’m not on Facebook,” Brent said. “So I sent him a note through my wife’s account after being asked by so many people if it was me. Even friends from Spain and Saskatchewan contacted us about his post. It was crazy. I was just doing what anybody would have done.”
Tom was happy to hear from him. “I read his message to my mom and she cried,” he said. “In a good way.”
The 77 year old, now in a cast and recuperating nicely, was incredibly appreciative and touched by the kindness of a stranger. Not just one stranger, but many.
A nurse had also stopped to help, and then later visited her in the hospital. There were others that offered assistance too. And now over 2700 people on Facebook have shared a simple request of a son wanting to thank a stranger for helping his beloved mother.
“Brent was a real hero,” Tom said. “ But so was everyone that helped. I’m very grateful to them all.”
Human decency is alive and well in the world, and there are millions of examples of it being displayed every day. Unfortunately It’s the crazy, negative and tragic stories that get most of the press, which can give the impression we shouldn’t expect kindness and compassion from strangers. We should.
The vast majority of us human beings are more loving than we think. Let’s open our eyes, and hearts, to that.
And if anyone knows the nurse named Kim from Kelowna General Hospital who helped Tom’s mom, please let me know. He’d really like to say thanks.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be reached at LoriWelbourne.com