There are different types and scales of heroism, a hero can be as simple as a person who gave you an uplifting talk when you were on a low, right through to someone who dived into the road to push a helpless person out of the way of an oncoming lorry! Heroism is relative, a single act of kindness and selflessness in adverse situations can be heroic in many peoples eyes. However, there can be little debate over the heroics demonstrated by off duty paratrooper Billy Mcphail who bravely jumped onto a live rail line to help a pensioner, seconds before the train reached the platform!
The 26 year old soldier from Essex was on the opposite side of the platform when he noticed the pensioner, known only as Barbara, slip off the edge of the platform. Billy explains that he was at least 100 yards away from the lady on the tracks and knew there was no time to hesitate as he could hear the horn of the train. Everyone was screaming and shouting so he leapt onto the lines, ran to her aid, and thankfully had the strength to lift her to the platform whilst mercifully managing to get himself out of the way in time too. The train came to an abrupt stop just seconds before he left the track.
Although Mr McPhail claims to not be a hero, that he instead acted on instinct, I for one believe that he demonstrated a heroes mentality when the going got tough…and for that sir you deserve recognition and gratitude! Turns out, a heroes mentality isn’t something everybody possesses initially, but it’s something we are all capable of.
A heroes mentality
Heroism is often used to describe an act of selflessness and bravery, that on the surface isn’t something we’d necessarily expect the average person to be able to do. However, this is not really the case, in fact most people are capable of such feats of bravery, and it’s attributed to the phenomenon that is desensitisation and altruism. Desensitisation is a term that describes our lack of shock to traumatic events such as car crashes, brutal attacks and natural disasters etc. The reason for this desensitisation to such acts is generally thought to be because of the easy access people have to this footage via the internet, and more specifically social media. As well as this, Mr McPhail’s occupation as a soldier no doubt hardened his character, in turn desensitising him somewhat more than the average person. So instead of being frozen to the spot when the lady fell onto the track, he saw it as an opportunity to help. This is where Mr McPhail demonstrated real altruism, which is described as an unselfish regard for others, meaning he acted instinctively (as he describes) without the expectation of reward or self gratification.
You never know what you’re capable of, Mr McPhail showed real bravery and selflessness with his actions. Although his father was a little uneasy at his sons act of altruism, it is great to see the true depths and capacity of a human being!
Mail Online, (2014). Dramatic moment soldier climbs over live rails to pull woman to safety after she falls into path of train. Retrieved 4th June, 2014, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648220/Dramatic-moment-soldier-climbs-live-rails-pull-woman-safety-falls-path-train.html