Characters portraying heroism and bravery fill our TV screens, but there are real, flesh and blood people walking among us who are just as amazing.
Here’s a list of 9 times that a person selflessly risked their own life to save someone else’s.
1.) Seven-Year-Old Saves Mother By Jumping In Front Of GunmanPhoto credit: assatashakur
In 2007, Selietha Parker and her seven-year-old daughter Alexis Googins were taken hostage by Parker’s ex-boyfriend Calvin Tillie one evening in Detroit, MI. They were at a gas station when Tillie fired at Parker, hitting her in the hand and the side of the head. Then Alexis dove in front of her mother to use her body as a human shield to stop the bullets. Tillie pumped six bullets into Alexis, before police arrived and arrested him.
Thankfully, Alexis and her mother lived to tell this amazing story.
2.) High School Freshman Rescues Child From A Burning HousePhoto credit: itsybitsysteps
In 2013, fourteen-year-old Marcos Ugarte was doing homework in his Oregon home when he noticed flames coming from a neighbor’s house. Ugarte quickly realized that a small boy trapped inside. He swiftly grabbed a ladder and climbed up the side of the house, where he rescued the seven-year-old.
For Ugarte’s selfless act of bravery, he was awarded the Citizen Service Before Self Honor in Washington, D.C.
3.) 90-Year-Old Man Saves A Young Girl From Being Trampled By A Horse
In 2011, 90-year-old John Shear threw himself in front of a racehorse who was charging directly towards a 5-year-old girl at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Astonishingly, Shear gained a full recovery from his serious injuries (including a fractured pelvis). He even had the chance to meet the girl he saved two years later.
4.) Homeless Man Saves Police Officer During AssaultPhoto credit: nypost
A female San Francisco police officer was attempting to arrest a woman, when the suspect suddenly attacked her. The officer called for help, as a small crowd watched but did nothing, until Ryan Raso, a 35-year-old homeless man, stepped up.
The female attacker was choking the officer to death and then the assailant reached for the officer’s gun. Raso ran and pulled the attacker off, then managed to hold her down until she could be handcuffed.
5.) Mechanic Saves Woman From A Burning Car Soon To ExplodePhoto credit: thehighdefinite
Addissu Andabo, an auto mechanic from Dallas, TX, was driving home from work when he noticed a women locked inside a burning car under a bridge. Andabo knew that the woman only had moments before the car would explode and decided to risk his life by trying to rescue her.
In the midst of an adrenaline rush, Andabo was able to smash a hole in the windshield just large enough to pull the woman out of the car to safety.
6.) Civilian Saves Cop After Nearly Fatal ShootingPhoto credit: djournal
In December of 2013, a gunman opened fire on two police officers in Tupelo, MI, after an armed robbery. The gunman shot and killed one officer, and wounded another. As the gunman continued shooting, civilian Randy Gregory, who was hiding behind a car, courageously ran towards the injured police officer while dodging bullets then was able to call for backup.
That phone call enabled the wounded police officer to get to the hospital before bleeding out.
7.) Handyman Saves Elderly Women From A Burning Building On The 18th FloorPhoto credit: allgreatnews
After a fire broke out in a Detroit high-rise, the buildings handyman Philip Wilson ran up the stairs instead of down to see if anyone was trapped. Wilson broke down the door where the fire was coming from, and saw a woman engulfed in smoke crawling on her knees for the door.
Wilson picked up the woman and carried her outside. She escaped serious injuries, thanks to his selfless act.
8.) Former Prisoner Saves Child From Drowning In A Septic TankPhoto credit: sunnyskyz
Henry Ricketts, a former prisoner who had only been free for two weeks, dove into a septic tank in Maricopa, AZ after a 2-year-old girl fell through a broken lid. Ricketts, along with another man who jumped in afterwords, were able to locate and rescue the child through all of the disgusting sewage.
9.) High School Student Who Stopped A Mass School ShootingPhoto credit: factsgarden
What could have easily been an attack similar to the Columbine massacre was averted in 1991 thanks to senior Chris Ericks.
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Harris walked into his Rapid City, SD, math class with a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun. He then locked himself and fellow classmates in the classroom. Over the course of four hours, Harris demanded everything from cigarettes to $1 million and a getaway helicopter. Harris threatened to kill everyone if his demands weren’t met.
Chris Ericks, one of the students being held hostage, noticed that Harris put down his gun. Ericks immediately lunged for the shotgun, then after a brief struggle was able to confiscate the weapon and call the police. No one was injured in the standoff.
These nine figures show that heroism comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not huge muscles or superpowers that make a hero, it’s the heart that beats within a person and the courage to take action when it matters most.