Cory Booker is hero. Last night, while you were deep in Dreamland (and I was wide awake keeping writer’s hours), the mayor of Newark helped to rescue his next-door neighbors from their burning house. Not like a little stove fire that can be snuffed out with baking soda, either. Apparently there were big flames and lots of smoke and the whole nine. It’s not often you can call a politician out for his death-defying deeds or his life-saving courage, so woot woot to you, Mr. Mayor! That’s nothing short of awesome.
The scene unfolded like something out of a movie: Booker arrived home last night with members of his security detail and spotted the blaze in an adjacent house. After banging on the door to alert the residents inside, an elderly woman downstairs told them that her daughter was trapped in one of the bedrooms on the upper level of the home.
Booker went to look for her, heard her yelling, and grabbed her -- literally, not in a gentle, cradle-you-in-my-arms-like-Superman kind of way -- and half-carried, half-dragged her through the flame-engulfed kitchen, which was the only way out. "I was hoping there was going to be a window on the front. It was on the second story, and I thought we could potentially get out, but that's when I had a lot of clear thoughts about, 'How we're going to get out?'” Booker said during the recount of his ordeal on CBS This Morning.
In his moment of bravery, Booker said he was acting off of pure instinct and that, for a fleeting moment, he wondered whether he was going to get out alive. Sounds like the fire was pretty intense: “When I got there and couldn't find her in all the smoke, looked behind me and saw the kitchen really erupting with flames all over the ceiling,” he said during his interview. In the end, Booker walked away -- thankfully -- with second-degree burns and smoke inhalation and spent some time in the hospital, but both he and his neighbor are blessed to be alive, healthy, and able to recount the ordeal with their minds and bodies intact.
Booker called his story a “come to Jesus moment.” A near-death experience will do that to you. A near-death experience while saving someone else’s life will double the dose of the spirit. Now whenever someone says Cory Booker’s name, I cock my head to the side, smile, and say “awww!” I’m proud of him, and I’ve never given that man more than a fleeting thought before. Newark has something to be proud of. (There are so many snarky ways to end that sentence, but I’ll keep them to myself.) I’m not sure if I could’ve reacted so courageously and coherently in this type of emergency situation, so he gets my respect.
When public figures perform random acts of kindness, does it change the way you look at them?
Image via david_shankbone/Flickr