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.