Reddit users were asked to share their stories of brave kiddos they have witnessed. Some of these stories are sad, some are inspiring, and some remind me kids are just plain awesome sometimes.

1. Sucka!

When I was 5 or 6ish, my cousins and I are maybe half a block away from my house, holding signs up about a garage sale we were having. Some dude in a white van pulls up and offers us candy.

We run back home screaming, but my one cousin, in the boldest move 5-year-old me ever saw, snatched a sucker out of this dude’s hand before he started running.

I thought he was gonna get kidnapped.

2. Safety first

Every time there’s an Amber Alert where I live, one of the neighborhood boys sits outside his house with a hammer (for self defense I assume) and one of his parents’ cell phones. He checks every car that comes by to see if it matches the one in the Amber Alert. I definitely feel safe with him in the neighborhood.

3. Lean in

When my son was 12, he got in between a bully and his victim and started mocking him. He dared the kid to throw a punch, and when he did, my son lowered his forehead into the punch. Then he did it again with the same result.

I got a call from school before he got home giving me all the details. After getting off the bus, he went through his normal routine and said nothing. After an hour or so, I asked him why he didn’t defend himself. I sparred with him regularly and this bully shouldn’t have landed the first punch much less the second.

He told me he knew he would get suspended for fighting, so he just took the punches where it would hurt the bully more than him. I have never been prouder of his compassion, courage, and intelligence.

4. So young

I saw a 6-year-old with stage four cancer telling his sobbing parents that it was gonna be okay and they’d carry on after he died. That one messed me up for a long time. So young and so wise. And then he was just gone.

5. No hesitation

This isn’t going to be as heroic as some of the other stuff on here, but when I was a kid I fell into the deep part of a local river. (I couldn’t swim.) My friend, without a moment of hesitation, grabbed onto the root of a tree, got halfway into the water, grabbed my arm, and pulled me out. Without her I might have died.

6. You should be

I didn’t witness this, but my son’s teacher told us. One kid was bullying another kid who is autistic. My 9-year-old son got up from his desk, crossed the room, yelled at the bully, and forced him to apologize to the autistic kid. My proudest moment as a parent so far.

7. Whoa

My nephew has two moms. He is five but since he the age of three he knew the term “homophobic”.

His mom gets harassed sometimes for raising him. Sometimes in front of him.

But no matter who the person is, my nephew gives them a hug. It doesn’t matter how big and scary the person is, my nephew will give them a hug.

He tells his parents and his uncles that angry people just need to feel loved again.

8. No big thing

I did not personally witness this, but my wife did. I don’t know that it’s technically “brave”, but it is a shining example of clear-headedness and lack of panic.

A few months ago, my wife had just loaded the five “little” kids up at grandma’s house and was driving them home in our Pathfinder. Just as they were getting on to the interstate entrance ramp, my eighteen-month-old daughter started choking. She had a “Dum Dum” type lollipop from grandma (a candy she had eaten many times without incident), and it had come off the stick and lodged in her throat.

My wife – a trained, seasoned ICU nurse who has run many a “code blue” situation – panicked, as there was traffic behind her and no shoulder to pull off the road for a good half mile.

My nine-year-old in the back seat of the car realized what was going on. He calmly unbuckled himself, leaned over the seat, made a fist, and drove it into my daughter’s solar plexus. Pop! Out came the offending lollipop, and while tears obviously followed, all was well. The boy may have quite literally saved her life.

The crazy thing is, I don’t even know where he learned how to do that. He knew about the traditional Heimlich maneuver, but all I can figure is that he (an avid fan of all sorts of YouTube videos, plus some Discovery stuff) came across it at some point and retained the information. He was utterly nonchalant about it, too, like saving lives was no big thing for him.

9. Hoss

When our daughter was 3 years old she found a MASSIVE spider in the living room. She didn’t like it. So she stepped on it. With her bare feet.

Didn’t even flinch.

10. Finger by a thread

My brother’s been working for my dad since he was a kid. One day, when he was 12 or 13, my dad had to run some errands, so he left another kid who was like 16 or 17 in charge.

Somehow, my brother ended up chopping his middle finger off with a woodcutter. The older kid lost it and started hyperventilating when he saw my brother’s finger hanging by a thread, but my brother just found a phone & called 911 himself. He ended up in the hospital for a week after they sewed it back on and reattached the nerves. I don’t know if he was in shock, but he stayed totally calm throughout the whole ordeal.

11. Aren’t I?

This was back when I was a medical intern in the Pediatric Emergency Room. One weekend, we were packed with kids who had gunshot wounds and 2nd-3rd degree burns. What had happened was there was a birthday party for one of the kids, who happened to be the son of a cartel boss. The kids were having fun and the adults were chatting, when all of a sudden a convoy of “enemy” cartel started shooting up the place. A stray bullet hit a gas tank in the kitchen and it exploded.

Amongst the chaos, there was this one kid, a little 8-year-old just sitting down on a hospital bed without a shirt. When the tank exploded, his dad got on top of him to protect him. His dad was in ICU for severe tracheal burns and this kid was in the pediatric ER because he had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his back, neck, and right arm.

I went up to him and told him I needed to clean him up and wash some of the dead skin off his back, and that it was going to hurt a lot. He looked at me and said, with a serious face: “Alright, lets do it then.”

I suspected it was the shock settling in, so I started to have a conversation with him (that’s how I learned what had happened to his dad). He didn’t complain a single time, nor shed a tear. He took it like a champ.

After I was done patching him up, I asked him: “Are you sure you’re okay?” and he answered: “I’m still alive, aren’t I?” It left me speechless. I still think about him every once in awhile.

12. LOL

This is something i saw back in the early 2000s. Some man is trying to rob a poor woman. I run to help, but before I even moved an inch, this little boy, who must have been about 6, runs over and delivers the biggest punch I’ve ever seen right to the man’s groin.

14. Donor

I work for a group that provides gifts to seriously and terminally ill children. I could tell you a hundred stories about these amazing kids, because that vast majority of them have somehow managed to make something of the rough hand life has dealt them.

However, perhaps the bravest story is of a little girl who donated her bone marrow to her older brother who had a very rare bone cancer. Her parents didn’t pressure her; she insisted on being tested and made the decision on her own.

She’s 7. How many adults would be willing to do what she did?

I was amazed to meet her and her brother. Both were incredibly well-spoken, likely from spending most of their lives at the hospital. The brother (who is about 10 now) gave a speech to a room of adults better than most people twice his age could give.

Both of them are incredible children, and the world is lucky to have them.

14. Children’s Hospital

I lived in a pediatric hospital for several years while waiting for a liver transplant. I met many kids who’d try to play like healthy kids despite what they were dealing with.

My best buddy Seamus was a baby with HLHS. I met him when he was 7 months old (I was 16) and he’d already had several open heart surgeries. Unfortunately, he passed at 14 months. He’d be 10 now. He was always happy and would do his ‘wiggle dance’ to make everyone smile. Look up ‘Sleep Well Seamus’ on YouTube to see his tribute video with the wiggle dance.

Another friend was Jeremiah, an infant with gastroschesis. He liked peekaboo and loved everyone. I’d love to know how he’s doing, but it was a decade ago and my nurses can’t tell me. I hope he’s well.

Flor was 2, but only the size of a 9-month-old. She had some sort of syndrome that doctors couldn’t identify. They thought it was maybe a form of dwarphism. It would surprise people when she’d say “hi” because she looked like an infant, but she could talk.

We played ‘body parts bingo’ and ‘hospital bingo’ in our rooms. The fact that 3-year-olds could say gastronemius and otoscope when their own parents couldn’t was pretty crazy.

I remember having to get an MRI, and the little girl in the next bed was scheduled to go after me. She was scared, so I asked if she’d been to a parade. She had, so I told her it’d be noisy like when the firetrucks drive by, and all the drums from the marching bands. She was a lot less afraid after that, and her mom thanked me. Nobody likes MRIs.

I met a little girl with cystic fibrosis. I told her how I’d learned about it in anatomy class, and she was excited that I knew what it was. She was about 5-6.

I often wonder how theyre all doing today. Im still in contact with some of my nurses, but obviously they can’t tell me anything because of patient confidentiality.

15. Relentless

At age three, my younger son caught me teasing/tickling his little cousin. He got in between us, gave me a stern look, and said: “Leave her alone.”

I’m a guy who looks like I own several Harleys and he’s three, backing up his cousin. I fear for the poor guys that are going to try to be her boyfriend; my son will be relentless in defending her.

16. Tough little man

My 9-year-old son got bit on his face by a dog, and it was a pretty deep gash. He never cried. Not from getting bit, not from the shots to numb it, not even while he was getting stitches. He’s one tough little man.

17. Staying afloat

When I was 8 or 9, I saved one of the neighborhood kids from drowning in my pool. He was 4. He jumped off the diving board with his arms in the air, and when he hit the water his floaties slid off. I guess the adults weren’t paying attention, and he just sank to the bottom. I jumped in and pulled him out. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now that I look back – it’s pretty cool.

18. Is it?

My mother, at 4 years old, escaped from her home in the middle of the city, and crossed the street. When the police found her and asked her name, she lied so she wouldn’t have to go back home. She had the police force and her (negligent) mother stumped for a whole day. I didn’t witness it of course, but is 100% true.

19. War Zone

This kid crossed the street to rescue to his younger brother, who was crying on the other side.

I was still living in Serbia during the Yugoslav wars. That was not a street I was willing to cross at the time. A few others had tried and failed.

20. A little Steve Irwin

My 5-year-old has definitely charged people who were tickling his brothers out of protective instinct while yelling, “Don’t touch my brothers!!”

He also alerted everyone to a scorpion in the kitchen, and instructed the youngest to get an adult while he stood guard and kept everyone back reminding them to avoid it’s stinger. (He watches a lot of Discovery Channel and Animal Documentaries).

21. Some are just better than others

There was a giant flying insect during a class, and a five-year-old used his hands to grab it while I panicked in fear.

22. Giving Blood

A young girl needed a blood transfusion and her brother (I think about 5 years old) was a match for her. So the doctors asked him if he would give her some blood. His parents both said it was the right thing to do. He waited a few moments before agreeing. They hooked him up to do the transfusion and he looked very worried; that’s to be expected. (I still hate needles) After a few minutes, the young boy asked a doctor, “How Long until I die.” The boy thought that giving his blood would kill him, and he still stepped up to save his sister. That is bravery.

This is also a great lesson in making sure people know what you are asking. The boy had no idea that the blood would be replaced and he would be fine.

23. Superstitious

My aunt would come to my apartment and tell me not to go in dark rooms for fear of ghosts. (In Thailand people are extremely superstitious.) But I would storm in looking for them anyway, trying to make friends.

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