No matter how bad things get, there’s always something that someone can do to make a difference. And no, you don’t have to be Superman, and you don’t have to rush into a burning building. Sometimes all that matters is showing that you care.
For two women wracked by the loss of a loved one, a fireman’s selfless act of kindness and generosity was exactly what they needed.
It was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill call—but when Drew Kostal arrived, it was anything but.
Two years ago, Drew Kostal, an engineer for the Vacaville Fire Department in California, received what he thought was a run-of-the-mill call for assistance.
“The call we received came in as a shortness of breath,” Kostal told USA Today.
Kostal and his team rushed over to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. There, he found two women next to the body of an elderly man.
“Ended up getting on scene and realized there was no breath,” Kostal said.
The man, 88-year-old Adolphus Thomas, was not breathing. He was quickly transported to the hospital, but there was nothing to be done; Thomas was pronounced dead on arrival.
Kostal had done all he could—but he wasn’t satisfied.
Kostal had done his best to save the man’s life, but he was unable to resuscitate Thomas. Normally, that would be the end of a call—but Kostal could not ignore the suffering of the man’s family. So, he decided to do something more, and in some small way, attempt to alleviate their feelings of grief.
He secretly returned to the hotel and approached the manager.
“He took out his wallet and said, ‘I want you to go ahead and put the room charge on my personal card,’” Andrea McPeak, manager of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, told USA Today.
Kostal also had one more stipulation: He made it clear that he did not want the family to know who had paid for the room.
Later, when asked why he did it, his reasoning was touchingly simple.
“It felt like the right thing to do,” Kostal said. “That’s about it.”
Kostal’s secret act of kindness went viral.
I'm beaming with pride, and here's why:This morning, around 9 am, Engine 73 and Medic 74 were called for an elderly…
Inspired by Kostal’s generosity, Fire Chief Kris Concepcion, decided to foil Kostal’s hopes for anonymity. Concepcion posted the entire story on Facebook.
“You hear all the bad things that are happening everyday in the world, and then you hear something like this,” Concepcion told USA Today.
Naturally, it went viral and was picked up by news outlets who managed to track down Thomas’ loved ones. Even at that time, they had no idea who had been kind and generous enough to pay for their hotel room.
As a fireman, Kostal receives thanks all the time—this was his opportunity to give back.
Of course, when they found out, they were eager to meet with him, and it was a heartwarming reunion. Kostal hugged the two women, and they assured him they were aware of all he did to help Thomas.
They were also very thankful for his act of generosity, but Kostal remained humble. For him, it was just what he would want someone to to do for his family.
As a fireman, Kostal often is on the receiving end of gratitude for his work protecting the lives of his fellow neighbors. In a small way, helping Thomas’ grieving loved ones was just another way to pay the generosity he has experienced forward.
“On our days off we went out and people took care of us,” Kostal said. “I don’t know. It felt good to receive, but it does feel better to give.”