Today’s hero: The man who jumped in

Today’s hero is Paul Kaufman, for epitomizing this theme in action, of jumping in where you’re needed.

This week we had our season kick-off event at the art gallery — and in the first hour had an overwhelming crush of people flow in. Howard, serving wine and water at our minimalist bar, was swamped. (It wasn’t just any water, by the way — it sparkled!) People stacked up. Then Paul Kaufman — a guest — jumped in.

Paul is a realtor and could easily have remained in the social swirl with fellow guests, seeking connections, gaining contacts. It would have made business sense to do so. He could have had a chatty good time, viewed the art, imbibed a bit, yawned and gone home for a pleasant sleep.

Instead, for more than an hour he stood side by side with Howard dispensing wine and water and good cheer to the party goers, to keep the people flow flowing.

I think of the time I was a stranger in a strange land — somewhere far from home, unable to find my way in a convoluted area — when a local hero of the moment hopped in his vehicle and drove in front of me as a means of directing me through too many twists and turns to remember. That has happened several times to me out West, where dirt tracks and crazy curvy roads abound — someone will pop into their truck to steer you in the right direction.

I think of the time my brother and another man rushed to the side of a massive, heavy-set fellow on crutches and in leg braces, to physically support him so he could ascend the steps to the viewing platform at Chimney Rock in the Carolinas. It was one arduous step after another, with the man in leg braces exclaiming loud cries of encouragement to himself with each step attained. A cheer erupted from the dozens of onlookers when this trio climbed onto to the platform.

Thank you heroes of the moment, for jumping in where someone is needed. It needn’t be you, but you take it upon yourself and make it your mini-mission to be of service — you grace our lives with your examples in action.

Thank you, Paul — there was no applause for you when you finally stepped away last night — the people you served had no idea you’d nimbly scooted in to lend assistance. We celebrate you here, now.

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