Back in October I made a comment to the effect of “…my editor made a suggestion for something that I think will absolutely floor you. I know it did me.”
What floored me is the concept of HeroicStories in audio form.
After a lot of experimentation and trial and error and testing and recording and re-recording I’m very happy to announce The HeroicStories Podcast is real. While we won’t be doing every story, we will be podcasting one HeroicStories story in audio form each week. The first one is already ready. You can find out more about subscribing to the podcast right here: https://heroicstories.org/podcast. (You don’t even have to know what a “podcast” is to enjoy the audio – when audio is available there’ll be a player on the story page as well so you can listen right there.)
Right now we’re podcasting audio for some of our recently published stories, but shortly into the new year the plan is that we’ll synchronize such that every Monday’s story will simultaneously come out in email and podcast.
I hope you like it.
And while I have your attention brand new HeroicStories are in editing. I hope to begin publishing those before the end of the year – keep a look-out.
On to our recent stories…
Ain’t for the Likes of Me to Judge
A male-to-female transsexual finds acceptance and continued friendship from a most unexpected place.
This story generated a lot of discussion when it was first run in in 2000. I encourage you to visit the story and read the discussion which had previously been archived on the old heroicstories.org web site.
My favorite contemporary comment was from Jill who shared: “When my ‘daughter’Kelly came out to me as transgender at the age of 20, I found it hard to believe. I went to PFLAG meetings to get educated about gay and transgender issues. It helped me tremendously. I never stopped loving my kid. I learned to use male pronouns when talking about my female-to-male kid. It is now 13 years later. He is living happily as a man and has a very good life and a supportive community of friends. Some years back when I broke the news to my then 80-year-old parents, I was very surprised by their immediate acceptance. When I asked them about that, my mom said, ‘Oh, we see that on Oprah all the time.’ It was and is still amazing to me that exposure and education can make acceptance and love the rule instead of the exception. Thank you for sharing Paulette’s story.”
Thank you for sharing yours, Jill.
A Symbol of Humanity
An employee in a retail store learns that treating people with respect can be a trans-formative experience.
John Burns commented: “Why are so many people so quick to judge? Why do so many automatically assume the worst, always? The world could be such a better place if we all decided to work together for a better world for everyone. Kindness is truly contagious, you don’t even have to be included, just witness it and you can spread it also. A smile costs you nothing to share, yet improves your mood and outlook, try it!”
Cairo adds: “As a Muslim woman I will say that the majority of us do follow what we are taught and that is to be peaceful, loving, generous, and honest people. It is required of us. As in all races and religions there will be some that have bad hearts and do wrong. An entire religion, billions of people, however, should not be judged based on the actions of a few, which is what the media had successfully accomplished. My mother told me that my weakness is I am too nice, yet when I go about my day I am viewed as a thief and followed through stores and stared at because I am a terrorists.”
It does seem like the media of late has only made things worse, which is yet another reason HeroicStories exists. What so many fail to notice is that terrorism and extremism know no affiliation. As Cairo said, in all races and religions there will be those who act out of hatred and extremism.
The Christmas Gift
Santa Claus makes an appearance … as a woman crossing racial boundaries to brighten a young girls Christmas, with a doll.
Berni says: “This (like many, if not all, of the other heroic stories have) brought tears to my eyes at the end. Then I thought about how similar today (2014) is for many families. While there may be more opportunities for children to get gifts from Santa or others (a la ‘Shop with a Cop’, Toys for Tots, etc.), someone anonymously stepping up, so to speak, and bringing joy to strangers carries a much more powerful sense of love. [Or, maybe I’m just jaded from having lived in areas where the gifts the children were able to choose – often as gifts for their brothers/sisters/parents/grandparent – were reportedly sold by a family member for drug money.] My thanks to Carol for sharing her story about an angel that touched strangers.”
John P. adds: “Just like the person in the story who gave a total stranger a toy as a gift, motorcyclist across the country join together at this time of the year to help the less fortunate. If you go to any of the sites that list Motorcycle Events (www.lets-ride.com or www.cyclefish.com or any other motorcycle event sites), you will see Events listed as Toy Runs. The Entry Fee for these runs is an Unwrapped Toy that the sponsoring club donates to local churches and other charities to help make Christmas special for those less fortunate. I have been riding motorcycles since the mid-1970’s and have had the privilege of participating in many toy runs in many different parts of the country. One thing they all have in common is the smiles on the kids faces when we give out the gifts.”
Jim R. sums it up: “I guess Santa was dressed as a well dressed, middle aged white woman, wearing a fur coat!”
Angel on Wheels
After an accident injures her son, a mother learns from a surprising source that where there is life there is hope.
John P. comments: “My step-dad had polio when he was 18 months old and walked with a pronounced limp all his life. As with the person in this story, he never let his ‘handicap’ stop him from doing what he needed and wanted to do. I have known quite a few people with so-called handicaps and they seem to get more out of life than the average person and are generally more appreciative of what they have.”
Michael adds: “I had someone like that, in 1997, after my accident. Then, after three years in bed, I could’ve used someone like that again. Luckily, things like this are more common now, 15 years later. There are many more people out and about in wheelchairs now, living full and active lives. I’ve seen everything from archery to sailing to mountain climbing; wheelchairs are more common in comic books and movies, business, and even modeling. I’m happy to be living now.”
I love to hear that. 🙂
Fionnuala’s Swan Song
Fionnuala shows us that life is often measured not in years, but in the number of people you touch.
rocketmouse says: “Wonderful! How true about having the good fortune to know somebody like that! This story reminds me about how my mother lived. She died at 34 from kidney failure, as near as I can tell. I myself had just turned 8, so I can’t remember enough to contribute a story. All I know is that when I came of age (i.e. 18 or 20) I just couldn’t believe all the great stories I’d heard about my mother so I set out to find her friends to see if she didn’t have a flaw after all. What I heard time and time again was that her only flaw was being ‘too nice.'”
Griffin Lilly’s Mother
The mother of a classmate makes sure that even the poorest get something at the Christmas gift exchange.
Cheryl says: “Mrs Lilly is certainly a hero. In my opinion, so is Tony to follow up and thank her for the impact she had on his life. Sometimes a bit of encouragement / appreciation gives the person the ability to keep on.”
Allison adds: “All the stories I read on hear are touching but this one made me cry. My granddaughter is eight years old and the thought of her being in this situation and someone caring enough to do what this wonderful woman did is a read tear jerker. Thank you so much for your emails letting us know that there really are good people ‘out there.'”
There are, Allison. There definitely are.
A very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best for the New Year!