What does a hero look like to you? Would you recognize one just by looking?
In comic books, heroes are easy to spot. They wear a mask or a cape and have superhuman abilities. In the real world, heroes often carry a badge and are trained to save lives. Then there are heroes like Darin Barton.
Darin was standing on a highway overpass in Denver, Colorado when a semi-trailer barreling out of control plowed into stalled traffic below him. The crash ignited diesel fuel and exploded into an inferno that melted the asphalt and consumed 20 vehicles. Dozens were injured. Four people were killed. Many more would have died, except David Barton rushed into the chaos and rescued four people before flames destroyed their cars.
From that description, you might think Darin was a policeman or a firefighter. But, in truth, just before the crash happened, Darin was standing at a nearby intersection holding a cardboard sign that asked drivers for help. That’s right, Darin Barton, the hero, was a homeless man panhandling for money.
I wonder what people assumed about Darin when they first saw him standing there with his cardboard sign? My guess is, very few saw a hero.
We often believe a mere glance is all we need to figure somebody out. But there’s more to people than what you can judge about them from the outside. To see a person’s true worth as a human being, you have to look beyond the car they drive, the clothes they wear … maybe even the cardboard sign they’re holding.