By now, many of us have heard the news of a probable car-bombing attempt in Florida. Police haven't released official details as of yet, but the circumstantial evidence points to a distraught woman and likely a murder-suicide attempt. This woman drove her car through the wall of a Broward County Sheriff's substation and the car burst into flames and exploded.
Despite what Hollywood shows, cars simply do not explode on impact. They do, however, explode when pyrotechnics are employed.
But even though the vehicle was engulfed in flame and the possibility of a bomb was present, a painter named Ben Mendez left his jobsite and, regardless of his own life, pulled the woman out of the flames. She'd already sustained 3rd-degree burns and Mendez was very likely covered with inflammable painting chemicals himself. Nonetheless, he managed to suppress the flames and save the woman's life before emergency workers arrived.
"She was already on fire when I reached her. I assume that she had lit herself on fire." Mendez told ABC-10 Miami, "When I see people in need, I try to help. That fire was traumatizing, the poor lady."
Mendez stated that the woman was 'babbling' incoherently about something related to her romantic life and that she wanted to die. When firefighters arrived, most of her clothing had burned off.
Mendez is a grandfather and part-time painter in the Miami area. Our society doesn't recognize the potential of such men; but a man he was. The hour of crisis is what separates the sheep from the goats. He not only saved a life, but prevented further destruction and saved valuable evidence for investigators.
Why would a man risk his life in such a situation? Because it was the right thing to do.
"It was a big explosion like dynamite" he said. "I made a split decision to drag her out."
It's good to remember always that there are heroes all around us. If our society would recognize this instead of depreciating men at every turn, we might see what men like Mendez are capable of when the chips are down.