I just read an amazing and heart-warming story of four people–two men and two women; mostly strangers–they had to quickly trust each other at a critical and terrifying moment to save the life of someone they didn’t know. They took on a mob of very angry people in a city that was inflamed.
A link to the Yahoo News story and some snippets are below. While the incident mentioned in the first paragraph below is well-known, it is what happened in the midst of all that anger and terror on which my post is focused.
“In one of the most disturbing images from the Los Angeles riots, six black assailants dragged Reginald Denny, a 33-year-old truck driver, out of his truck in South Los Angeles and bashed his head in with a brick… The attack happened shortly after not-guilty verdicts were handed down in the racially charged trial of the police beating of Rodney King, which kicked off six days of rioting that left dozens dead and thousands injured.”
Murphy saw that Denny had managed to drag himself back into the cab of the truck, which was moving very slowly. Murphy ran to the passenger side and jumped on the running board; he saw a woman named Lei Yuille comforting Denny inside the cab. Just then, a hulking guy named Bobby Green leaped on the running board of the other side. The two stared at each other through the windows, each fearing the other was a rioter.
“I asked him, ‘Who are you? What are you going to do?'” Murphy says. “He said, ‘What are you going to do?’ I didn’t know he was thinking the same thing I was thinking. I figured I had to take him on, he figured he had to take me on. We were both over 6 feet tall. I told him I was going to drive the truck and he said, ‘I’m a truck driver.’ That was the end of that.”
From his position on the running board, Murphy was also able to guide Green, who couldn’t see through the truck’s cracked windows. “Each one of us could not carry on the task without the other,” says Murphy. “Bobby couldn’t drive the truck without me on the outside. Mr. Denny was attended to from the inside [by Yuille], and we couldn’t drive the truck without Terry in the front of us.”
The result was a perfect collaboration. “We all came together as a team,” he says. “It was like it was meant to be.”
“His four rescuers, who were all black, became a symbol of hope in the devastating violence that engulfed the city for three days.”
“In every major city in America and in cities all over the world the same thing could happen,” says Murphy,”until we decide as a people that we work together and stop looking at things as race but realize we’re all one.”
I don’t recall hearing about these four courageous people 20 years ago. I remember the news media repeatedly showing the beatings and atrocities. I wonder what would have happened if the media had decided to focus at least a little more energy on the many people of all colors who were working together to save lives, and risking much to do so.
The four people mentioned above are all Heroes of Humanity to me.