Monday, February 26, 2007

One good save deserves another

The title of this blog entry is the title given by the editor of Long Island's Newsday to this article in their print edition this morning. It's a good title, but does not quite conveyed the truly increditable and heart warming story behind it. The article was written by Erik German and staff writers Christine Armario and Emerson Clarridge. I think it's better to copy the whole article here for the story, which was started fortuitously by a freaque wave:
When a rogue wave swept Neil Maycock out to sea 37 years ago, only the bravery of a passing stranger saved the then-3-year-old boy's life.

The stranger, a man out walking his dog, dove into the waves and - with the help of his Labrador retriever - dragged the grateful boy back to the shores of his native Great Britain.

Yesterday, fate let Maycock return the favor.

Maycock, now 40, dove into Centerport Harbor to rescue a stranger who'd fallen into the icy waters just after 3 p.m. And Maycock's sidekicks in the rescue? Two golden retrievers.

Before he nearly drowned, the victim, Michael Johnson, 23, was attempting to walk across the thinly iced-over Centerport Harbor, fire officials said. Nearly across the harbor, about 40 feet from shore, the ice gave way, plunging the Centerport man into the water.

A woman standing on shore saw Johnson fall and shouted.

At that moment, Maycock happened to be strolling on the beach, his two sons beside him and two dogs trotting up ahead. At the noise, his sons, Harry 10, and Sam, 7, stopped.

But Maycock dashed toward the sinking figure, splashing forward in jeans and hiking boots, shoving aside chunks of ice as he began to swim.

"If I'd thought about it a little bit more, I wouldn't have done anything," Maycock said, reached later at home in Centerport. "It was just instinct."

The two retrievers, Alfie, 5, and Gus, 1, followed Maycock into the water.

At one point, Johnson slipped beneath the surface, but Maycock took hold of the man's right forearm and began towing him toward land.

Maycock kept his charge at arm's length, to keep both from going under. But Johnson seemed to need more support.

So Alfie swam alongside Johnson and the man draped his free arm across the dog's furry back. "It gave him something to hang on to," Maycock said.

The trio paddled together to safety. "It was an unbelievable job that this guy did," said Centerport fire Chief Kevin Kustka.

Johnson was taken to Huntington Hospital and treated for severe hypothermia, Kustka said. Maycock was treated for cuts on his hands sustained from sharp bits of ice.

"The dogs did not suffer," Kustka said. "They were able to recover quickly."

Watching his father's icy plunge at first, Harry said, "I was a bit nervous and scared." But reflecting later, "it seems like a big adventure," he said. "I can't wait to tell my friends at school about this."
Reading this story reminds me of the old Buddhist philosophy of Yin[1; cause] and Kuo[3; effect] most Chinese are probably familiar with. It's basically just an euphuism of doing good deeds leads to good deeds that should be the same under any religion. In general it means that God will reward or restitute a good deed in His own ways sooner or later. The brave passing stranger, who saved 3 year old young Neil 37 years ago, remained nameless. But that risky good deed was redeemed by Neil himself 37 years later. As he reflected later :"If I'd thought about it a little bit more, I wouldn't have done anything!" Anyone can understand that. But it always happens, at another place, another instance, and another time. Yes, if you'd think a little bid more, you probably will not have done it. There is this invisible hand juggling things out there effectively without our knowledge. Sometime we can clearly spot the Yin and Kuo, most other times we can't. Nevertheless, we should all be grateful for this mighty invisible hand brought us this heart warming story today. As an old Catholic would like to say: "Deo gratias!"

No comments: