This story is part of the “My Unsung Heroes” series, from the Hidden Brain team, about the kindness of people that leaves a lasting impression on others.
Nearly 20 years ago, Jeff Fister was driving his then 12-year-old son to school on a busy morning in St. Louis. His toddler sat in the back seat. He reached one of the busiest intersections in the city and the light turned green.
“Suddenly, a car hit the back of our car,” he recalls. “We spun like a top while the other car flipped upside down.”
They were startled but unhurt. By the time they got out of the car, emergency vehicles such as police cars and fire engines had arrived one after another. His toddler started crying.
“It was overwhelming,” he said.
Fister found himself standing on a street corner across from a major medical center. There are many people coming and going on the way to work. Then he turned and saw a woman stepping out of the crowd, arms outstretched.
“She could see I was in shock,” he recalls. “And I just handed the baby over to her.”
The woman was wearing a hospital gown, which made Feist think she was a nurse or some other medical worker.
“It made me feel safer about handing over the baby. It’s really instinctive,” he said.
After Pfister started calling and talking to police, he turned to look at the woman holding his child. He saw the baby’s hair was shining. Then he realized the flash was actually shards of glass, from a shattered car window.
“I realized how lucky we were,” he said.
When things calmed down, the woman handed his baby back to Pfister. She waved to him and blended into the crowd crossing the road.
Since then, the woman’s act of generosity has become more and more meaningful to him. It reminded him that the world is full of kind and helpful people.
“I’m a devout Catholic, and I don’t necessarily like all the angels and stuff … I’m not sure,” Feist said. “But for sure, I think every day there are people who decide to help others, like that woman did for me, just by doing simple acts of kindness.”
My Unsung Heroes is also a podcast – releasing new episodes every Tuesday. To share your unsung hero’s story with the Hidden Brain team, please record a voice memo on your phone and send it to email@example.com.