Thomas Harwell is just a man from Texas. He lives in Hardin and is a senior captain with the Hardin Volunteer Fire Department, a few miles outside Houston. He’s married to Shayla Harwell and they have two children. In his free time, he enjoys attending local events and casually helping fellow citizens in need.
A few months ago, Thomas and his family attended the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and while they were seated, Shayla noticed an elderly woman who had difficulty going down the stairs to her seat. The woman was accompanied by her grown daughter and two granddaughters. So she nudged her husband that maybe she needed help. Thomas immediately ran to the woman’s side and helped her downstairs.
Throughout the concert, Harwell kept an eye on the family in case they needed something, as he said. And then at some point, the show ended and all the attendants started leaving the stadium. Harwell though, couldn’t follow the rest of the attendees, since he was waiting to see if the woman he had helped earlier could leave safely by herself.
When he realized that it was too hard for her to leave alone, he went up to her once again, this time carrying her up the stairs and out of the stadium. His wife captured the moment on her phone and posted it to Facebook in what would become a viral post, so far liked more than 50k times and shared by more than 7k people.
Shayla’s post was received with enthusiasm by Facebook users, who praised Harwell for his kind act, even though he was off-duty.
“Awesome! Still some good in this world!” someone wrote, while another one commented: “Wow! My hero! Everyone’s hero!! God love you young man!”
As Harwell’s wife explained, they didn’t do the act or capture the moment for the recognition, after all, as they said, they didn’t even ask to know the woman’s name or details. They just wanted to help out a fellow human being in need.
“I’m almost shocked, I really honestly didn’t think it would go that far,” Shayla Harwell said. “She was very appreciative. When he placed her down at the top of the stairs, she was grinning ear to ear. It really touched her to have him help her.”
This is not the first time that off-duty firefighters go above and beyond to help fellow citizens when the opportunity appears. Let’s not forget that one of them recently helped treat a patient on a flight, while another one helped a neighbor out of a burning house. Also, another one was punched by teenagers while he was trying to protect an elderly couple that was being harassed. Last, but not least, another off-duty firefighter helped save a man who was experiencing a cardiac arrest at a Mexican restaurant earlier this year.
All these instances prove that these people really care about those around them, no matter whether they are obliged to help or not. As Thomas Harwell said, “If you’re alive and breathing, you shouldn’t need an excuse to help someone else. If they need help, help them.”
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