A Brazilian Hero?

I came across this story today even though it happened last fall. It is a story that will rock your faith in humans. I didn’t have the guts to watch the video because it would have been too much, but I will post the summary of the story here:

“October 13th afternoon around 5:30, a car accident occurred at the Guangfo Hardware Market in Huangqi of Foshan. A van hit a 2-year-old little girl and then fled. No passersby reached out to help and then another car ran over her. Over the span of 7 minutes, a total of 17 people passing by failed to extend a hand or call the police, up until the 19th person, a garbage scavenger ayi [older woman], who lifted her up after discovering her but the little girl in her arms was like a noodle, immediately collapsing back onto the ground. The trash scavenger ayi called for help, and the little girl’s mother, who was in the vicinity, immediately rushed over and rushed her to the hospital.”

Tragically, the child didn’t  survive. And China’s leaders went scrambling everywhere trying to figure out what’s wrong with their people. They started a national campaign to encourage people to care more about each other. And out of nowhere comes an unlikely hero, a Brazilian national living in China who has become a sort of hero in his town for one reason and one reason only — he risked his life defending a lady who was being robbed, risking his own life in the process.

The story is in from a Brazilian newspaper and it is in Portuguese, but here is the synopsis:

Last Friday, 27-year-old Brazilian Mozer Rhian Oliveira, came to the aid of a woman who was being robbed while 50 people simply stood around and did nothing to help him. The young man was walking on the sidewalk when he saw a thief with his hand inside the woman’s purse. Oliveira hit the man with his closed umbrella. Soon, two other man joined the thief and hit him with a belt. He ran to the lobby of the apartment building where he lives and when he lowered himself to try to grab a metal sign to protect himself, he was attacked by the three assailants who hit him on the head with a metal bar. People who knew him and other passersby simply ignored the scene.

Oliveira received 15 stitches on his forehead but he had some small consolation — yesterday he was visited by 20 local and provincial authorities, who gave him a check for about $7,000.00 and was presented with a plaque thanking him for setting an example for all the Chinese to follow. His action is only the latest in a series of incidents in which westerners have been the only people willing to help people in dire need.

These incidents have forced Chinese people to look inside their own souls. Like Americans living in states with no “Good Samaritan” laws, they point to cases where people were sued by relatives of those they tried to help. Some specialists point out the fact that the Chinese people have been programmed to only help those who are part of their circles — close friends, relatives, etc. Some point out the logic of a judge who found a man guilty of causing the injuries of the lady he helped bringing to the hospital when he found her lying on the street. The judge said, “He has to be guilty; otherwise, why would he help her?”

As for Oliveira, when asked by the authorities why he decided to ask, his answer was, “I am a Christian and I believe in loving your neighbor; furthermore, if my mom or my sister were in that situation, I wish someone would help them.”

Whether you are a Christian or not, I would hope you would agree with me that there are things in this world that are as black and white — helping a child in distress is one of them. Hope you don’t have to wait for a crisis to act.  Start today, right where you are.

Ivanildo C. Trindade
PS: My sincere thanks to my friend Helena Koyama for sending me the link to Mozer’s story.