About a year ago, my best friend called to tell me about a Facebook Live video from our area that had just gone viral. It was a tragic scene in which three young men were heinously gunned down while sitting in their car.
The video started out ordinarily enough… It was a peaceful, sunny day. Three friends were hanging out in the car at what looked like a park. None of them were talking; they were just vibing to some music, enjoying life. Who knows why they even went live? Maybe they just wanted to share their moment of zen with the rest of the world.
Out of nowhere, you heard what seemed like a thousand gun shots, and the phone immediately dropped (along with everyone’s heart that was watching the video). From then on, there was no video, only audio.
Now normally, I would’ve stopped watching at that point. Whether out of respect for the victims, or the fact that I just couldn’t handle what might happen next, I would’ve walked away and tried to put it out of my mind.
But there was something about that scene that seemed oddly familiar, it was almost nostalgic. No, I’m not a black man; No, I’ve never been shot. But growing up, I can remember doing the exact same thing over and over and over again… sitting in whoever’s car with my friends, escaping the madness of the world, listening to our favorite songs, maybe even smokin’ or sippin’ on a lil something (who knows).
So, I kept listening to the audio. Now the gun fire was over. There was an eerie silence in the air. My body was stiff, as if I (sitting at my kitchen table) was trying to help hold in any blood that was draining from their bodies. Every second that passed felt like an eternity. Then I could hear someone call 911 for help.
A couple seconds later, a man’s voice entered. It was a strong, deep, coarse voice. He began to talk to the boys. He told them over and over again in a powerful, yet reassuring tone, “Stay relaxed… You’re okay. Listen to my voice. Keep your eyes open. Help is on the way.”
Occasionally some unhelpful bystander would walk up and scream, or say something annoyingly panicked like, “Oh my God! They got shot!” And this man would immediately assert his control over the situation by telling them that everything is fine. In my mind, I could imagine him scaring them away with his piercing eyes, somehow telepathically letting them know they should shut the hell up.
Without missing a beat, the man continued talking to the boys. By now, his voice was larger than life, yet calm and steady. “Do you hear the sirens? They’re coming for you.” (There were no sirens in the background that I could hear.) “Just stay relaxed. Open you eyes. Nobody goes to sleep. Stay with me. Concentrate on my voice.” He continued to comfort and reassure the boys until help arrived. And then the video ended.
Thankfully, all three boys survived that horrific ordeal.
But this story is about the man behind the voice… the voice that commanded them to stay awake… the voice that encouraged them hold on… the voice that assured them help was on the way. I have no idea what he looks like or what he does. I have no idea what he’s done in the past to prepare him for that situation, that mission. I’m pretty sure he didn’t get an award; there was no ceremony in his honor, no trophy. But I do know, he would do it again in a heartbeat. How do I know that? I’m not exactly sure; It’s just a feeling.
There are angels among us, ready to help us in times of need. I’m not talking about friends and family. Those people already have a connection with us; They’re already invested in our well-being. Nor am I talking about health and safety workers who save lives, although they are heroes in their own right.
I’m talking about strangers… people who aren’t invested… people who help just because… because they were there… because it was their assignment (whether they knew it or not). It doesn’t have to be as drastic as saving someone’s life. Sometimes, it’s as simple as paying for the groceries of that overwhelmed mom who forgot her credit card. It could even be praying with a distressed widow in the hospital chapel.
I believe this man, the man behind the voice, was an angel for those boys. I sometimes wonder if I will ever be an angel in someone else’s life. Will I live up to the job as extraordinarily as this man did? One can only hope.