I can't even remember my hero's name, but not a day goes by that I don't think of him.
We were stuck overnight in a bus station in the middle of downtown Detroit in a fairly bad section. It was the only place to go and we had been told that it was open 24 hours. When we got there, however, we were told that the building was closing. We were almost put out on the street for the night when I somehow convinced the night security guard to let us stay in the building over night. The two of us, plus an art student and a preacher, sat that night talking all the while. We talked and shared like we were old friends, like a day hadn't gone by that we didn't know each other.
By the time 3 am rolled around, the preacher lady and the art student had fallen asleep, leaving me talking with the man. He told me why he was traveling, to get some help at a VA clinic in the Chicago area that he couldn't find where he was from. You see, he had fought in Desert Storm, serving two tours of duty. He told me about the hard times, about losing one of his friends, but also about the kindness of the people who they had liberated or protected from harm. We talked for hours about the military and his service, but finally I began to get tired.
"It's alright," he said. "I'll watch over you."
"But aren't you tired too," I remember asking.
"I can't sleep more than half an hour at a time. I was discharged from active duty because of my sleep issue. No doctor in my area was able to help me, so they sent me out to this hospital out here."
He woke me up in time to get my bus. We shared a final hug, and his parting words have always stuck with me: "Never give up on your dream. You may be the only one who believes in you, but know you've made a difference to me. I'll never forget you, and I'll always believe in you."
I didn't get his name, and I never saw him again, but that encouragement he gave me, that idea that my only limitation on fulfilling my dreams was me, that I have held dear to me since that night. I may fall by the wayside and at one point had almost given up hope, but I think back to that man, that soldier in the bus station who gave me encouragement to follow my dreams, and I pick myself up again.
Sir, whoever you are, and wherever you are, thank you. You may have no idea what an influence you were on me. You truly are my hero.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories