Like everyone else, the successful efforts to save the Thai youngsters from the deep water-bound cave, held my earnest attention, and I found myself becoming emotionally involved in hoping for a successful outcome. And I was not the only one so affected. The world over had denizens of planet earth glued to the screen. Something deep and amazingly meaningful, embedded deeply within the soul, was activated and energized by the world harnessing collective expertise and co-operating internationally in a way not present in recent decades. This was the moment when humanity discovered that compassion and empathy are the deepest expressions of human endeavor. Yet there was one singular feature that struck me most profoundly.
An Australian doctor, Dr. Richard Harris, played a central role in the rescue of the boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. He has 30 years of cave-diving experience and was specifically sought out by British divers participating in the Thai rescue, while he was actually on vacation.? He was the one who assessed the boys? capacity to undertake the frightening and dangerous underwater exit path that nature had carved out for this drama. He was the one who was last out of the cave each day as the groups of four boys at a time left their potential tomb. He himself courted death swimming to and fro in the extremely narrow four kilometers of crevices and pressing underwater tunnels, on each occasion.
And that wasn?t what moved me most. What left the deepest impression was the fact that he refused to be interviewed. No reporter could approach him. No TV telecaster could attract his attention.? His humility, his dedication to his profession, his willingness to abandon personal vacation time, his commitment to peoples in need wherever and whoever they may be ? reflected principles and beliefs so sorely lacking in a media-circus environment that allows greed and exploitation to triumph. Others in Dr. Harris? position might have ?acquiesced? to promises of bags of gold and silver to help support their employers? ratings and satisfy their advertisers. But he staunchly refused, even failing to comment off-the-record.
Where does this allegiance to principle, to personal discipline, to private life-mission, stem from? Such strength of character is not only inspirational, but also exemplary and exemplifying. The modeling he displayed will leave a huge legacy and impact not only his colleagues, but on humanity at large.
It behooves each one of us to ask ourselves: When last did I perform a truly altruistic act to benefit humanity, or to benefit but one person?