In the midst of the horrific events of the last few days, we have focused on what happened and who is to blame. It is hard to process and accept this kind of evil in the world. The story of the attacks on Paris will forever be one of fear, and pain, and loss, but it can also be more. In the middle of the chaos, it is also a hero story.
A pregnant woman hanging from a window ledge was pulled inside by a man who had to come out of his own hiding place and endanger himself to rescue her.
A local bookstore offered refuge to 20 people during the attack living up to the sign which has long hung above their door, “Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”
Multiple large companies helped to create communication and safety amid the chaos and suffering. Airbnb, a home renting service, created a page where home owners could offer safe living space to those who needed a room. Facebook activated its Safety Check tool so that family members could show they were safe. Skype and Google Hangout declared all calls to France were free. And several companies in Boston’s technology industrial district started a fundraiser with a goal of $10,000 to help those who were stranded and suffering.
A restaurant worker who pulled two women with gunshot wounds off the restaurant’s terrace and into the basement to safety where he sat with them tending their wounds until help arrived.
Those are just a few of the hero stories which are out there. There are many more. While our anger and sadness over these horrible events are justified, remember to take time to look for the heroes who were there in the middle of it all. Maybe focusing on them instead of the terrorists can help us to restore faith in our common humanity.