One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Skoglund, shares this story on her web site. Think about it!
He was no novice. As a sheriff working for years in a small town, he knew where to draw the line between firmness and compassion. On that afternoon in September, as he walked into the prisoner recreation room, the warm stuffiness made him feel that tinge of claustrophobic oppression which is so much a part of general prison life.
Going over to the old-fashioned wooden windows, the sheriff started to push one open. As usual, the window stuck from the heat of the day. Pushing a little harder, his hand slipped; and before he could get his balance his hand had gone through the thick glass and his body had jerked back, landing him flat on the floor.
For a moment he was stunned. Then a stabbing pain shot up his arm and the blood gushing on to the floor beside him brought into focus the reality of his desperate situation. For all practical purposes, he was alone, helpless, with no one who would care near enough to hear his cries. Surrounded by a group of hardened criminals who viewed him as the enemy, he made a feeble attempt to drag himself to the door. No one attempted to help.
Just then a prisoner ran over and crouched down beside him. The sheriff felt his own revolver slide out from beneath him. Then the young prisoner held the other prisoners at bay with the sheriff's revolver, now fully cocked. With his free arm he dragged the bleeding man toward the outside door. With quick dexterity he managed to take the sheriff's keys, open the door, drag him outside and then relock the door -- all in seconds. Then giving the gun and keys back to the sheriff, the young man ran for help. Lying there on the floor bleeding, the sheriff wondered if help would come in time. Then, mercifully, he passed out into oblivion. Hours later in a hospital recovery room the sheriff awakened to tell his story.
For both men, in an instant life itself had taken on a preciousness beyond that which either man had felt before. One man had almost lost his life. Another had broken an unspoken rule of conduct among his peers and in so doing had put his own life in jeopardy. Yet each man had found his life. Beyond his own rescue, the sheriff had realized the preciousness of all life, even among those whom he had thought had little or no value.
The prisoner was released from prison for his act of valor. But his greatest reward was his knowledge that in a crisis he had chosen to save a life, even at the risk of his own life.
"My times are in thy hand..." -- Psalm 31:15 (KJV)
- Elizabeth R. Skoglund
Be sure to check out Elizabeth's web site at: www.elizabethskoglund.com