Brent Cunningham is a good friend and Regional Director for Young life in Sitka, Alaska. He and his family stayed with us in Phoenix last January when he ran the P F. Chang Marathon in Phoenix. He was closing in on his goal to qualify and run in the Boston marathon. Brent achieved that goal last week when he ran and finished the Boston race.
Twenty minutes after he crossed the finish line, the bombs went off. In the chaos that followed, he and his wife Karen were making their way back to their hotel. It was a confusing, distracting and hectic scene.
Three amazing things happened in the minutes that followed.
1) Brent and Karen spotted and approached a distressed young woman seated alone on a street bench
2) They listened to her story. They wrapped her in Brent’s warming blanket,
They offered her words of comfort and hope.
3) Brent learned that as this young woman was approaching the finish
line, the bombs exploded. She had been directed off the course and was
unable to finish the race. Brent then took the Finisher’s medal off his neck
and placed it around hers. Looking in her eyes he said, “You are a finisher.”
The young woman received the kind words and the Finisher’s Medal from these strangers; unable to even respond with words. Brent and Karen went on their way. Her post on Facebook the next day was an effort to identify and thank the anonymous couple that had cared for her and about her in such difficult circumstance. Within twenty-four hours the Facebook post had been forwarded to over 250,000 subscribers, including the ABC 20/20 website. By the end of the week, over One Million people had viewed the post, several large media outlets had reported the story and ABC 20/20 had produced and aired a special episode on this story.
Why such a huge response? Why does an act of kindness and concern stir so many people so deeply? Maybe it’s because we are all hoping that:
Someone will notice when we are hurting and sit down next to us.
Someone will step into our struggle with kindness and concern
Someone will call their victory, ours.
Someone will give us a costly gift with ease and grace, and need nothing in return.
Our daughter’s are hoping for someone like that in their lives. Lets pray for the grace and courage to be that Someone.
Dr. Don Worcester