Chivalry and a Mother’s Courage

I find chivalry all around me. I find examples of it in the most unusual situations, and in the most surprising moments. I saw one such moment occur at a city park, a few years back.

This particular park had more than its share of police calls, but usually things were pretty quiet on a Sunday afternoon. This particular afternoon, however, things got interesting, and in a hurry. I happened to glance to one side and noticed a car swerving, quite recklessly, through the parking lot, and at a high rate of speed. I quickly realized that it was heading right toward us, and that most of the people were unaware of the danger as the car was coming up from behind them.

Right behind the speeding vehicle was a police car, which was going even faster, as it appeared to be catching up to them. Within seconds the fleeing car hit a concrete curb at the edge of the parking lot and stopped. It was now in a position slightly to one side, and directly behind us. As the police car’s doors flew open, two police officers jumped out with their guns drawn. They were pointing at the suspects in the car, and — indirectly — at us!

I had a good view of what was happening, as I was looking in the opposite direction of most of the people there. I walked out of the line-of-fire, shouting, “Get out of the way.” But, at first, no one moved. Such things happen very quickly, and it takes time for people to process what is really going on, especially when it is outside of the norm.

A few people realized the danger they were in and started to move. Others stayed where they were, watching the police officers, perhaps not realizing that we were in a position where we might be unintentionally shot from misses or ricochets. Since yelling, “Get out of the way,” didn’t seem to work, I began to shout simply “gun!” That seemed to get people’s attention.

Then I saw a lady who had been walking across the field perform an act which was as brave and chivalrous as any I have ever witnessed. She had her baby with her. When she perceived what was happening, she simply turned around, sat down, her back to danger, and cradled her child with her own body. When the officers got the situation under control, she simply stood up with her child still in her arms and calmly walked off the field, as though nothing had happened.

Luckily for everyone involved, no shots were fired. The suspects came out of the car without a fight and were immediately handcuffed and taken to jail.

In a few minutes the whole thing was over, but that lady’s valiant act has stayed with me. Her quiet courage and selflessness (a dramatic example of values familiar to most parents) reinforced for me the importance of the virtues of chivalry. Courage, honor, faith and protection of the helpless are not only aspects of medieval chivalry, but are, and should always be, alive in the modern world as well.

Chivalry can be a modern goal and a lifestyle. Its values are worthwhile, and alive today; but they are not always obvious. Those who try to live by chivalry today will not always be wearing a suit of shining armor.

Michael Cady, Arizona

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