'I Jumped Off A Motorcycle.' People Reveal Their Bravest Moments.
Sometimes, a person's life boils down to one moment. Will you do the right thing, or will you turn and run?
This piece is based on a Quora question. Link on the last page.
1. When I was 21, I woke up one morning to a girl screaming and banging on my door. I opened my door and saw a girl about 17 years old, she was begging me to help her and as she turned away from me I noticed that her shirt was ripped down the back and there was a huge streak of blood across her back but it wasnt her own.
I didnt even really think about it, she was so young I had to help her. I stepped out of my apartment and as I followed her my next door neighbor came out of his apartment holding a butcher knife that was dripping with blood. He stopped and stared at the two of us for a minute before he ran down the porch and out to his car.
As he drove off I continued to follow her into the apartment hed just come out of. Once I got to the door I saw her boyfriend laying on a pullout couch. He wasnt just covered in blood, hed been stabbed so many times that blood was pouring out of his body. He had just enough energy to sit up, reach towards me and ask for help.
Within seconds he fell back onto the bed and I just knew he was already gone. She was at his side screaming and crying.
I grabbed her and tried to explain it wasnt safe to wait in the apartment. At first she wouldnt leave him, she kept telling me that we had to do something to save him. I knew he was gone but the only way I could get her out of there was to tell her, he was going to be okay but we had to get an ambulance.
Only one other neighbor in the entire complex actually tried to help, he called the police but everyone else just gathered in a circle and watched. Once I got her to leave with me, I locked us in my apartment and tried to calm her down.
I never really thought it was brave to help and not run back into my apartment and lock the door until I realized how many people just stood around staring at what was going on with no intention of helping.
2. In December 2016, I left the hospital with my two-week-old daughter, Lamees and boarded a 17-hour flight, knowing that she might die in my arms. I was terrified, but I had vowed to sit quietly and not say a word until we landed, even if that meant holding her as she grew cold.
I had approximately 24 hours to get her to safety, our journey would take exactly 22 hours. There was no room for error. (continued...)
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She was born with a heart condition called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, unfortunately her two missing fingers and small size meant that our hospital decided against surgery. Nothing I did or said would change their mind, they sent her home to die.
So I organized her passport and booked her flight. I had no idea whether the surgeon at the other end would operate but I had no more time to wait. She was already beginning to show signs of distress.
The general consensus, as of the time we took out, was that she had around 24 hours.
We arrived at the airport 10 minutes before check-in closed. The flight had been overbooked - luckily several passengers had not showed up and a kind staff member told them I had already checked in online (I hadnt).
I sat on the flight with a blanket covering me while I pretended to breastfeed and removed the cap on the syringe containing the medicine my baby needed (which wasnt allowed).
The surgeon came in on his day off to meet us when he heard that I had arrived. He was absolutely amazed, and kept saying how much he admired my bravery and determination. I believe this is one of the reasons he decided to do such a difficult surgery, he put his heart and soul into it. He didn't want to let me down.
My baby gave up her fight 4 days later, but I am at peace knowing that I gave her a chance even though it was the most afraid Ive ever been in my life. I was terrified, but I did it anyway. Love makes you do things you never thought you could. Love makes you brave.
3. I'm 23. I just flunked out of law school during my 1st year. I wasn't mentally prepared. I called my father and gave him the news. He gave me three days to make a new life plan and call him back. I found a job teaching English in Taiwan within that time.
I move my stuff back home in a U-Haul. Two weeks later, I have a new USA passport and Taiwanese visa sticker. My passport was processed in only 6 hours. This was due to saying please and thank you. The passport processing lady tells me to thank my mother for teaching me manners. 22 hours later I arrive in Taipei.
It finally hits that I'm in Taiwan when the announcement comes on in Chinese in the airport. I went from being lost and depressed to totally rebuilding my life on a different continent in a matter of weeks.
Jeremy M. Thompson
4. I guess it was back in 1974. I found out my cancer (lymphatic) had reoccurred and that I was pregnant the same week.
The doctors recommended that I abort my son , as, in their opinion, I would not make it to term without chemotherapy. (continued...)
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I made the decision to keep the child, against their advice and my husband's protests.
I made it, and my son, Brian, was born. I was only allowed to nurse him for two weeks, and then they started chemo. The first few months were difficult. Because of the chemo, I was not allowed to hold him for more than a few minutes at a time (radioactivity).
He grew up to be an Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal (bomb) Staff Sargent in the Air Force and died in 2014. He chose to be a bomb specialist, as that profession saves lives, unlike most other military professions. He was a joy, very adventurous, traveled all over the world.
I think I made the right decision.
5. When I was in the Marines, I knew a guy. He called me one day and said, "I just saw some paperwork. You'll be getting sent to Japan for 6 months soon, unless you want to be sent to Camp Lejeune (where I had lots of friends). But if you go there, you will join a unit that's going to depart for Iraq in December, and there's going to be a war (this was almost a full year before the Iraq War started)."
With this information I spent a few weeks thinking about the various possible outcomes of this decision, and in the end I opted to go to Camp Lejeune because if there was a war, I knew I might make a real difference to a few good men. I'm very smart, fairly strong, and have always performed very well under pressure, and I knew that I could save some lives that might have been lost if given the chance.
During the war I was in a major battle and got blown up inside of an AAAV. I carried two guys with half-blown-off legs out of the vehicle, which by then was basically a fireball on top of a big pile of explosives, on top of 1,000 pounds of fuel.
Today those guys have wives and kids, and that's a really incredible thing to me when I think about it from time to time.
I chose not to go to Japan a year before the war even started, and now those children exist.
6. I was crossing a park walking home from work, pretty late. I heard male and female voices yelling. About 50 yards away I saw a couple on the ground, struggling. The woman was on the bottom. (continued...)
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She was screaming "GET OFF ME!" He was holding her arms and laughing. Then he slapped her face, several times.
I looked around but didn't see anyone. I threw down my bag, took off my heels and ran.I grabbed the guys coat and pulled him off her. I summoned repressed anger. I stood in front of her and screamed at him, STAY DOWN YOU @#%^*&!
He glared at me like a wounded animal, but didn't get up. He smiled. I kept eye contact while I pulled out my phone and dialled 911.
The woman got up, went over to him, then turned to me. What the hell are you doing?! He wasn't hurting me. He just gets angry when hes drunk.
I said, Honey, your boyfriend is violent, and he belongs in jail. Hate me the rest of your life, I'm just glad you're ok.
I'd like to believe that bravery is the supreme act of selflessness. I know what I did was brave, probably stupid. But for some reason, when it's unappreciated, it feels less.
7. It was December, the nights were cold.
One night while I was returning from work, I heard a womans voice crying out. It was dark around 10:30 PM. There were no people around and the voice came from a bus which was about 20 meters away from the road inside a parking lot. It was darker there.
I sensed something was wrong, I got a steel rod which was lying on the road and without even giving it a second thought I went in there to check. There were two men there trying to sexually assault a woman. One of them came towards me and tried to hit me. I dodged and hit him with the rod. The other guy ran. I gave my woollen jacket to the woman and in the midst of all this the guy who was hit ran too.
I wasn't trying to be brave. I was just trying to do what was right.
8. The bravest thing that I have ever done was jump off a moving motorcycle. (continued...)
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I was waiting for a bus. Then he, the son of my dad's friend, appeared at the bus stop and told me that he was heading my way. I thought why not?
On the way, he turned his towards a wooded area. I protested and asked him to stop the bike. He refused and said something that made his intentions clear. I jumped off his bike without a second thought.
I hit the road hard and got injured. But I got up immediately and ran towards the main road. He ran behind to catch me. He pushed me hard and I fell down towards the ditch on the road side. I was fighting but I had started to choke.
At that moment, Fortunately somebody on the road heard me and replied. He ran away after that. Then I called my family. I reached home pretty injured but the feeling was of a warrior who had won the war.
9. I don't know if this falls under the brave category or not but yes, I personally feel this is the bravest thing I have ever done.
I live in a small town in India where there were no facilities or schools for girls after 10th grade. For studying further, we have to enrol in a boys school but we (girls) can't go there for study because that is a boys' school after all.
So after 10th grade, me with my 3 other (girl) friends had opted to study physics, chemistry and mathematics. We had to do self-study, where we pay the school fees, they send us the material, and we study it on our own. But we were having a tough time teaching this stuff to ourselves.
So I took the decision to go to school, no matter what anyone said. But, of course, that meant standing up to the whole system. (continued)
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The other 3 girls also supported me. We talked about it with the Principal, and he decided he really couldn't deny us after all we were paying the fees. Then we bought the uniform and start going to school with swag. Some teachers were surprised, some were shocked.
But we faced criticism by society too, because of poor mentality.
Here the shining part comes, gradually more girls started coming to school (who were enrolled) and after that year, all the girls started come to school to study.
The funny part is on my report card, my school name is listed as Government Boys' School.
What I have learnt is start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
10. Last year I was driving home late after 4th of July celebrations and out of the corner of my eye I saw a small flame from the top of a house.
I turned around and called 911. I ran up to the house and it was really dark inside but the TV was flickering so I figured someone was in there. They didn't respond to banging on the window so I was able to break/pull the sliding porch door open and found a guy sleeping in the smoke on his couch.
I wake the guy up and by that time the whole roof was on fire. We find his dog and get the hell out. The whole house burned down.
I didn't give my name or stick around for the cops because I didn't want to get mixed up in the whole thing and end up on the news. Drove by the next day and there wasn't much house left.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.