So many times in life we as humans tend to focus on the negative aspects of culture. Today I would like to point out a positive aspect of society that I have observed through a specific experience in my own life. I have found that in a frightening, intense situation where others are in danger or have been hurt, people drop whatever it is they are doing at the moment just to help that person in need. Nothing in life matters at that second except for the problem at hand.
I was able to experience this during the Montecito Tea Fire of November 2008. Unlike most of the student body at Westmont College, I was not on campus when the Tea Fire broke out. Instead, I was about to start babysitting for a single mom who lived in house up on the mountain, located right below the Montecito arches where the fire began.
Every Tuesday and Thursday night of that semester I would babysit for this woman. This Thursday night, however, was much different. I had arrived at her house a few minutes early so I was doing homework in the guest house. At 5:55 pm, I put my belongings in my backpack to go babysit at 6:00 pm. At that moment, I just happened to look over my left shoulder only to discover that a huge, ferocious mass of hot, fiery flames were racing towards me at a very high speed. I raced up to the house to tell the mom and her daughter that we needed to leave immediately. The flames were towering above our heads, not even 200 yards away. We had about three minutes to throw some valuables into the car. As the sky above us began to brightly light up with hot orange flames, we escaped in the nick of time. Seconds after the evacuation, the house that we were just in was the first house to go up in flames during the Montecito Tea Fire. The fire continued burning everything in its path as it traveled down the mountain towards Westmont College and the beautiful town of Montecito.
If it wasn’t for the protective hand of God, we would not have been able to escape from the vicious fire in time. Even though we did not have any of our personal valuables with us, it did not seem to matter because the most important thing was that we were alive and not injured. Despite the fact that I did not know the woman very well, I without knowing it, grew much closer to her that night because of the tragic situation we both went through. It is amazing to see the kind of love that is formed in situations like this due to our natural human instinct. People opened up their houses to her whether they knew her or not. I received so many phone calls from relatives, friends, and even those who I hardly ever talk to just to make sure I was safe. There was an indescribable amount of love and care that night because people where in need.
I believe that there is more kindness and love in the world than we has humans give ourselves credit for.