He was right on time. I pulled over to curb. The passenger door swung open, he handed me an Italian coffee and piled in.

“What about ‘every man’?” he said before he’d even done up his seat belt.  ‘Damn’ I thought.  Part of me just wanted a care free day of rock climbing on the timeless, glacier polished stone of Squamish. But part of me wanted to live like him: wide awake, switched on, thoughtful.

‘What?’ I said, stalling for time until the caffeine kicked in.

“You know…. what about the everyday heroes in our lives?”  he asked, somewhat exasperated.

In our society we tend to hold up Super Star athletes, Music Icons, TV celebrities, or business titans as our heroes.  They deserve it.  These people dedicate their lives to mastering their craft, breaking records, making records, and shifting our paradigm of what’s possible.  In doing so, they lift us all up.  Mother Theresa, Usain Bolt, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, Bono, Steve Jobs, and countless others.  Everyone worthy of hero status, modeling the way and inspiring millions to follow.

My friends point? What about the single mom raising two kids?  What about the maintenance man who dependably makes it all work everyday? What about the high school teacher that taught you a life lesson or the sports coach who pushed you do more than you thought you could?

One gift that the Covid-19 pandemic provided was recognizing the lifesaving impact of hospital and care home house keeping staff, care aids, nurses, and doctors just quietly caring for patients, and we couldn’t even see them do it.  But we don’t have to wait for a pandemic.

What about that boss that asked you about your passions or helped you to be your best? Or the work colleague that took the time to show you the ropes?  What about the moms and dads, brothers and sisters, neighbors or strangers who you knew had your back, or just ‘does what needs to be done’ even when no one is watching?  Because it’s the right thing to do?  These are heroes too.

Here is my request of you:

Think of someone who has been a ‘hero next door’ for you.  Then, take one or more of these actions:

  1. Let them know you ‘see’ them and the heroic thing(s) they did or do.
  2. Say ‘thank you’.
  3. Send them a text, email, Messenger, or old school letter telling them you’re grateful. Better yet, pick up the phone.
    1. Hint: be specific – name one action they took or word they said that you appreciated.
  4. Recognize them out-loud in a team meeting, at the dinner table, or when you’re out for lunch.
  5. Secretly slip a card on their desk, a post-it note or a life size banner 😉
  6. Tell someone else about this person’s positive contribution(s) to the world.

So many people feel busier than ever these days and may feel as though they just don’t have time.  Make the time.  It only takes a minute.  You’ll be lifting them up.  If they’re no longer with us, your stories will their spirit of serving others to live on.  You’ll spark that gallantry in others.

Got someone in mind?  Go tell them!