When Jesus Solis walked into Vera's Sports Bar early Monday morning, he didn't expect to have it be the last time in his life. But it was. The regular patron was shot during an argument after he stood to defend a woman being harassed by three men. The woman didn't want to dance, the men wanted her to, and Solis got in the middle.
The story is a horrifyingly sad one with shades of the father who recently lost his life after trying to save a drowning young girl (not his own). These kinds of stories break our hearts. They also scare us.
Who among us would be so brave after hearing stories like these? Would we accept the danger to our own lives and well being in order to help another human being? I'd like to think I would. But the reality is, none of us knows.
We all want to believe that, like Solis, we would have the courage to stand up for a woman being harassed or jump into the water to save a child (even one that wasn't our own), but when push comes to shove, it's hard to know. Unless you have stood there, making those decisions in those moments, you really just don't know.
It's our job as a society to protect one another and to stand up for people who are weaker than us. It's ingrained in us and we honor people -- firemen, police officers, soldiers -- who put themselves in harm's way to help others.
But those people choose jobs like that. They choose to protect us and serve our country. It doesn't make it any less heroic, but it does take a certain kind of person. The everyday citizen walking into a bar may not be ready to be a hero.
Solis was. And he paid a price for that courage. My heart goes out to his family and all the people who loved him. But maybe they can take some comfort in the fact that he faced a scary moment, a moment where many people would have hidden behind their beers and "stayed out of it." He didn't "mind his own business." He stepped in to help a frightened woman.
That's a true hero.
Would you be brave enough to do something like this?
Image via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr