What Makes a Hero? What would you do if you saw someone getting stabbed? Would you act?
My mouth watered from the salivating smell wafting around me—Street Dogs, also known as Danger Dogs; grilled hotdogs wrapped in bacon paired with grilled onions, grilled green and red bell peppers, and topped with mayonnaise, hot sauce and ketchup…but where were they? I was with my husband in the Fabric District of Los Angeles purchasing supplies for one of my many do-it-yourself home projects, when my stomach decided to take a detour. The street vendor had to be close, the smell beckoned. We followed the scent, through the laughing crowds enjoying the sunny summer day—past the fruit vendors chopping watermelon, coconut, cucumbers—past the man selling baby bunnies— when our hunt was halted by a scene unfolding in front of our eyes. A real life knife fight. We were across the street, far enough from the crowd that had already circled the fighters, but close enough to see, elevated on the sidewalk. One man had a knife, the other a large metal chain. My husband froze. I screamed at him to hand me my cell phone . My sundress was pocket less, and I rarely carry a purse. My husband did not move. I frantically searched the numerous pockets of his cargo shorts. Grabbing the phone I dialed 911. This was the only thing I could do, right? But a tiny 4”11”, 60-70-year-old woman with skin the color and texture of light brown leather disagreed. She had a weapon and she was going to use it. Her defense of choice, a broom. She was relentless, pounding the men, swinging with fury, until they ran off.
My husband would later tell me that he saw one man get stabbed in the heart several times in a kind of stick and jab motion. One thing I still wonder about to this day, is why would the little lady get involved? And should my husband and I have done something more? I hope I would intervene if someone was unwillingly getting attacked and I tell myself that this was different, this fight was obviously mutual and that’s the reason I didn’t act. But why out of hundreds of people did the smallest of individuals respond?
I didn't remember this event until after I wrote my book, The Four Points but I wonder if this incident influenced my novel and my belief that heroes really do come in all sizes: small, tall, heavy, thin, young, old, adult, child, etc.
What would you do? Do you think you would have done something to stop the fight?