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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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My Hero


Ching Li was firm. No credit card.

My mind lamely tried to come up with a plan. “Umm… I guess… I’ll go home… and get money… can you leave my clothes here… and I’ll come back soon…” and wait for another half hour… and the place is probably closing soon… and Mommy needs the car… and you need to get ready for yom tov…

I felt like I wanted to cry. After all that waiting… I was unraveling.

The joke-telling man was suddenly trying to get my attention. “I’ll give you the money; don’t worry.”

In a moment he was at the counter, pulling open his wallet. “What’s your name…Reich?” He must have seen the name on the card.

“Thank you… thank you so much…”   I was way too grateful to protest. “I’ll pay you back right after yom tov...”

Ching Li accepted the money, handed over a receipt, ka ching! A whisk of plastic, it was all done…

I turned to my rescuer with relief. “Thank you so much…” I had no words.

“No problem,” he assured me with a smile. He gave me his name and stepped back in line. As I left the cleaners I heard him calling my father and telling him that all was fine with the kids. I grinned and stepped out into the beautiful rain.

“You MUST pay with cash.”

“I can’t pay with cash!”

“You MUST pay with cash.”

“I can’t pay with cash!”

Ill pay the cash,” says a face with a kind smile.

“Why thank you!” she simpers, weak with relief.

Wong Long scowls. “Rats! Foiled again!”

(I sigh in blissful amazement.) “My hero.”

 

To me, that is a hero. A person who sees someone in need, and stands up, and steps forward, and reaches out a helping hand. To friend, or to stranger. No, he hadn’t known who I was before he saw the card. To be a man, to do what needs to be done… and to do with a smile, and a cheery air…

That is a hero.

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