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Rewards

I was walking down a dimly lit street late one evening when I heard muffled screams coming from a clump of bushes. Alarmed, I slowed down to listen, and panicked when I realized that what I was hearing were the unmistakable sounds of a struggle, heavy grunting, frantic scuffling, the tearing of fabric. Only yards from where I stood, a woman was being attacked. Should I get involved ?

I was frightened for my own safety, and cursed myself for having suddenly decided to take a new route home that night. What if I become another statistic ?. Shouldn't I just run to the nearest phone and call the police ?

Although it seemed like an eternity, the deliberations in my head had taken only seconds, but already the girl's cries were growing weaker, I knew I had to act fast. How could I walk away from this ?. No, I finally resolved, I could not turn my back on the fate of this unknown woman, even if it means risking my own life.

I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don't know where I found the moral courage and physical strength, but once I finally resolved to help the girl, I became strangely transformed. I ran behind the bushes and pulled the assailant off the woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground, where we wrestled for few minutes until the attacker jumped up and escaped.

Panting hard, I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouched behind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I could barely see her outline, but I could sense her trembling shock.

Not wanting to frighten her further, I at first spoke to her from a distance.

"Its OK," I said soothingly. "The man ran away. You're safe now."

There was a long pause and I heard her words, uttered in wonder, in amazement.

"Dad is that you ?".

And then, from behind the tree, stepped my youngest daughter, Katherine.

Greg O'Leary

Comment:

Many people fear that their good actions will go unrewarded. How often do we hear the cynical aphorism "No good deed goes unpunished"? Yet here is a vivid example of the fact that precisely the opposite often holds true. By resolving to risk his life for an unknown woman, the father ended up saving his own daughter's life. And in his determination to help another, the father discovered the amazing force and power of the will. Under ordinary circumstances, he would have been unable to summon up the physical strength to fight off the rapist. Yet his will was so great that he strength from an unknown and untapped source. We have capacities of which we are not even aware. In setting out to do a good deed for another, this did a wonderful deed for himself.

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