Unlikely Hero

Jeremy - Sterling, Virginia
Entered on May 5, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

When I was a child, I used to think that super heroes were real. Eventually I grew out of thinking that there could ever be real heroes. Until this one day that an unlikely hero emerged.

In the middle of July, I was outside mowing my lawn. I noticed that Ms. Dalton was outside planting new rose bushes in her front yard accompanied by her poodle Stevie. Ms. Dalton was in her late fifties and lived by herself, besides her pet poodle. Ms. Dalton was not very well liked throughout the neighborhood because she always had a problem with something and blamed it on the neighborhood kids.

I finished up mowing my lawn and was just about to go inside my house to relax when I saw Stevie acting strangely. Ms. Dalton just kept digging away at her rosebushes and paid no attention to her barking dog. Suddenly, the dog sprinted into the back yard, disappearing into the thick woods behind my house. My first instinct was to sprint after him, and so I did. I ran through my backyard and entered the woods around the same spot that I saw the dog go in.

In the woods, I looked around and didn’t see any sign of Stevie. This made me pick up my pace a little bit, which wasn’t a good idea because I wasn’t looking where I was going. Instantly, I tripped over a tree root and fell face first into a puddle of mud. I jumped up, still drenched in mud, and begin to sprint with all the energy I had left. I finally saw the dog way off into the distance, and I knew I was getting close.

Right on the other side of the woods was a busy road that people always sped down. I was less than a foot behind Stevie when we left the woods and were quickly approaching the busy road. Without thinking I leaped into the air and wrapped my arms around the dog’s neck. I tried to be as gentle as I could so that I didn’t injure him. We both crashed down on top of grass inches away from the road. Just as we landed a minivan went zooming by, without even noticing us.

I got up slowly, with my hands tightly around the dog’s collar and saw Ms. Dalton pull to the side of the road. She swung the car door open and ran over. She opened her arms and gave me the longest hug I had ever gotten. She then grabbed Stevie by his collar and practically threw him into her car and then she faced me. After a moment of silence she said to me, “I saw everything you did for me.” “Without Stevie I wouldn’t have anyone.” She paused for another moment and said, “Thank you so much….you’re a hero to me.” There, covered from head to foot in mud, it dawned on me, that I was a real hero. This I believe.