Ordinary Heroes


Heroes, they walk amongst us and they look like me and they look like you.  These everyday heroes have no costumes or capes but they share a common bond; they simply care about others more than they care about themselves.

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” Khalil Gibran

I have always loved Humans of New York; if you have no idea what I’m talking about then you really need to get to know Brandon and his amazing portraits and stories of everyday people.  I typically start my day with a tea or coffee and his Facebook page.  I find it always gives me perspective to start my day, usually I feel a deep sense of empathy, gratitude and inspiration. His series on Pakistan touched me and reminded me that we have the capacity to change the world; all we have to do is believe that we can make a difference and look for small ways we can help each other.

Brandon recently shared the story of Syeda Ghulam Fatima, she is referred to as the modern day Harriet Tubman.  ”Fatima has devoted her life to ending bonded labor. She has been shot, electrocuted, and beaten numerous times for her activism. Quite literally, she places herself between the workers and their owners. The organization she leads, the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, is small but determined. It is working to set up Freedom Centers throughout rural Pakistan so that every bonded laborer has access to advocacy and legal aid.” via Humans of New York

This series moved me beyond measure because I was unaware of the number of people living in bonded labour in Pakistan and around the world.  The Humans of New York community came together in a matter of days to donate more that two million dollars to help Fatima and the Bonded Labour Liberation Front. You can still make a donation here.

Another example of an ordinary hero is Avis Ottey, whose beautiful daughters were killed 20 years ago.  Instead of letting the pain consume her she turned that pain into a beautiful purpose and is now employed by the Toronto Police Service and helps other victims of violent crime. You can more of her story here.

I touched on two recent examples I’ve come across of ordinary heroes but I am sure there are millions of examples around the world.  I have shared these stories to say to my daughters that just because you are only one person doesn’t mean you cannot make a difference.  You and I can be seeds of change and it doesn’t have to be grandiose, we can simply offer to help an elderly person carry their groceries.  We can step in when we see someone being bullied, we can buy the person behind us in line a coffee.  Every little gesture of  kindness goes a long way to making the world a better place, as Gandhi said lets all be the change we want to see in the world.




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