Eric’s eyes opened, but his vision was blurry. He knew he had been in the hospital for a while. But things were completely different now. He had undergone a life-saving surgery after great news from the doctor. He couldn’t believe his luck and was grateful to be alive.
But when his eyes opened, he expected to see his adult wife or daughter. Instead, a young woman was sitting next to him. Her blonde hair was the first thing he noticed, but then he saw her smile and her bright eyes.
Who was she? Why was she smiling at him? Did he know her? Had the surgery caused some kind of amnesia? She was wearing a hospital gown. Was she sharing the room with him?
“Mr. Brown, how are you feeling?” the young woman asked.
“Ugh… a little sore, I think,” Eric replied, and stared directly into her face. “I’m sorry, young lady. Who are you?”
“Well… that’s a long story,” she said, her smile widening.
“What?” he asked, puzzled.
The young woman smiled mysteriously. “Years ago…” she began.
Fifteen years ago…
Eric was driving on a highway when the cars in front of him braked. He reacted quickly and saw that one vehicle had made a terrible fender bender and crashed into another. He was reaching for his cell phone when flames erupted, and something inside him told him to act. After parking his car, he got out and rushed to the scene.
The flames spread very quickly, and all he could see was a little girl pounding her fist on the side window. Eric should have waited for first aid – someone should have called 911 at this point because traffic was at a complete stop – but he took off his shirt and ran to the car. He wrapped his fist in his shirt and hit the windows as hard as he could, shattering them after using all the force he could muster.
He cleaned the window of the shards as best he could and pulled the girl out. She was in a bad condition, but alive and only breathing rapidly from fear. He sat her down on the side of the road, away from the scene of the accident, and waited with her for a while.
Soon, sirens sounded in the background, and Eric drove away from the area. He got into his car and watched as the paramedics rushed to the girl.
Traffic began to move to the side, thanks to the direction of a police officer, and he drove off, not wanting to look like a hero waiting for the congratulations from others.
The next day, he saw in the papers that the girl was safe in the hospital. He never told anyone about this incident. However, he never forgot it either.
“For many years I have been trying to find the man who saved me, because the one thing I can’t forget about that night is your face,” she continues. “I was visiting my friend who had just had a baby the other day, and I got lost because this hospital is a maze. I saw a nurse take you to this room. I asked about you, and I even snuck in when you were sleeping to see your face. I was sure.”
“You were that little girl?” asked Eric breathlessly. He shook his head at the coincidence. He loved seeing her alive and well. But why was she sitting there? It still didn’t make sense.
“Yes, I was, and I asked about your situation. I was told you needed a kidney transplant, and it didn’t look good because you were at the bottom of the transplant list, so I did the test just in case. And I was a match for you, so I did it! See?” She pulled up her hospital gown and showed the bandage on her belly.
“Young lady! Jesus Christ! Shouldn’t you be in bed?” he declared, concerned for her health and shaken by the generous gesture. “You shouldn’t have…”
“Of course I had to and I’m glad I did! I wouldn’t be alive if you hadn’t come to my rescue. Oh, and I think it’s time I introduced myself. My name is Miriam. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she revealed as she reached out to the elderly man in his hospital bed.
Eric’s eyes blurred with tears, and he squeezed her hand tightly. “Thank you, Miriam. Thank you.”
“And thank you… it only took me 15 years to say thank you,” she said sincerely, and the door to the hospital room opened.
Eric’s wife and daughter were there with smiles and flowers for both of them. Miriam had spoken to them earlier and told them everything. She had no idea that her family didn’t know about the incident until now.
They hugged Miriam and kissed her in gratitude, then sat around the room.
“Now,” Eric’s wife began. “You tell us what happened that day and why you never talked about it.”
“Well…,” Eric began and smiled brightly. He never wanted to be a hero, but he realized that his actions that day had saved his life later on.