Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A heart of Gold

The other day I read a story that warmed my heart. It was the story of a brave young man, Michael, who risked his life to save a toddler from a burning house. This incident happened in Nigeria of all places. You see in Nigeria, people rarely risk their lives for others. They may try at the beginning, but if they realise they might die in the process, they don’t bother anymore. In Nigeria, as in many other places, people look out for "numero uno". I have heard stories of people who rather than help save children from a burning fire next door, ran to save their own properties while the children cried helplessly. So you can see why this story is truly remarkable. Be inspired today, there are still good people on earth, and indeed you could be a hero too. 
This is the way it was recorded by a newspaper called the Nigerian Eye.

After helping to free a 16-month old baby trapped in a fire in Makurdi, a Good Samaritan – Michael – is now battling for survival at the intensive care unit of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH). 
When Michael Anthony, 27, braved the odds and dived into a raging fire penultimate Tuesday night, he had only one aim – to free a 16-month old baby that was trapped in the inferno. In the end, he succeeded in removing the baby from harm’s way.

But Michael is now battling to remain alive after sustaining first and third degree burns in the process. Writhing in excruciating pain when Weekly Trust visited him at the Intensive Care Unit, Ward 1, of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Michael summoned strength to explain how the incident happened at their residence at Owner Occupier Estate situated along Chief Abu King Shuluwa road.
“I had just returned from work on the fateful day at about 9pm when we (my parents and siblings) started hearing the continued cry of a baby. Initially, we had thought that our neighbour was beating her child but when the cry was becoming unbearable for us, we all ran outside our house, only to discover that our neighbour’s flat was on fire.

“By this time, the entire sitting room was already up in flames. There was absolutely nothing anyone could do if the baby must be rescued, except to brave the odds. “I just couldn’t stand there doing nothing and wait till the baby dies. So, I tried to assist the little boy as I paved my way into the bedroom where he was and threw him out from the window”, he explained.

Michael, an electrician said though he got badly burnt in his bid to save the child, “I’m grateful however that the attempt was successful. I don’t in any way regret my actions”, he stressed.

On the part of his 61-year-old father, Anthony Anthony, there is no cause for regret since his son was suffering for a good cause. He said, “I am very happy for what my son did. We all ran out of the house that fateful night but I did not know when Michael meandered his way into the burning apartment.
“He was with us and other neighbours as we tried in vain to break through the window to rescue the child. The fire was such that had overtaken the parlour, which is the only exit and entrance into the apartment. Before I realized what was happening, my son was already inside the apartment. He rescued the child through the window but the space could not contain his frame for escape.

“So, he had to stagger through the fire and eventually, God helped him out. I’m surprised how he found his way out but I give God praise in all things. That was how we immediately rushed him to the hospital,” he said.

There have been efforts to get the state government to support Michael with his bills and one of the commissioners has been to the hospital. Hopefully Michael will get the support he deserves to encourage not just him but others that it pays to be our brother's or sister’s keeper.

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