Bill, a 74 year old, risks being shot as he tackles a gunman during a shooting.
Seeing how a guy attacks a girl in a store, Kermit rushes into the scene and gets stabbed himself with a knife in-between his ribs.
During one of Brisbane’s worst storms, Danni drags a 40-year-old stranger into her car, who got knocked out by hailstones, which penetrated his car’s roof and hit his head.
Daily, there are people, like these described above, who put themselves into situations unthinkable to most people. They block out everything else, focus on their self-given task and seem to ignore all personal consequences that may come with the actions they take. These are the people, who step up and put themselves into the same place and situation in order to get the person in danger out of there.
But the question really is, “Why”? Why would anybody want to take such high risks? Why would anybody want to take actions that might forever change his life or might even cost him his life?
What you probably already observed, watching some interviews, is that these people really don’t consider themselves heroes, but rather think that their behavior is normal and that everyone would have done the same. So their motivation obviously is not to gain public recognition. But then why is it, that not everyone would do the same and only a handful of people are willing to get themselves into these situations? Research suggest that their decision to help someone is not a long thought and well decided decision, but rather a decision taken spontaneously and quickly. One common attitude that these people demonstrated was the mindset of “If not me, then who?”. While other persons passed the responsibility on to someone else, the actual helper type person took the responsibility.
In an experiment conducted in the German TV-show “Quarks & Co” (https://youtu.be/XMtDweduoLY), in which they simulated a car accident, every second driver who saw the scene of accident drove by. The experiment was constructed in such a way, that it was unmistakably clear that someone needed help. 50% of all drivers did not stop to help. But in a stressed out society, in which there is no more time for any extras, where you are just hurrying from one appointment to the next, where you are trying to find a way to cut some time, how could you blame them? Or could you? How ironic, that even professional helpers don’t have time to help, unless they are on duty. The question that remains really is: to which 50% do you belong? Do you belong to the first 50% who are trying to catch their lives and excuse themselves that “this is just such a bad time to stop and help, sorry”. Or do you belong to the other 50% who take the responsibility, stop and help, risking coming late for work, risking some injuries or even their lives?
What other characteristics do you think these people have?