Thursday, November 20, 2008

He Chose A Path With Heart

“I’m serious, Luis," I say in BIG MONEY. "I need to provide for my children, and right now this is where I can make the most money, have the best chance of scoring enough for their education. But is hawking stocks and bonds really what I was born to do? My life’s purpose?”

Luis pulls our glasses off the bar. Guess it’s just one nightcap tonight. “Only you can answer such a question. But I agree that a man should have purpose.”

“I have an old friend who’s a fireman,” I say. “Doesn’t get paid much, and he’s always arriving at the scene before the ambulance, trying to save or resuscitate the most horribly mangled accident victims. But he loves going to work every day because once or twice a shift he’s allowed to drive a giant red diesel fire truck as fast as he can. He loved racing cars as a kid. Now he loves racing fire trucks. It’s what he was born to do.”

Luis considers my tale. His long fingers are rinsing glasses, holding one up to the light now and then to check for smudges. “For the injured, and people in fires, it is important that your friend drive fast and drive well, is it not?”

“Of course.”

“Then your friend is a lucky man,” he says. “Also a wise one, I think. He knew his purpose, he chose a path with heart.”

TFA and I are heading to California tomorrow. TFA will deliver the eulogy for his old friend Terry Zimmer, the man on whom this story was based, a former Los Angeles County fireman who chose a path with heart. The church will be packed with people who loved this man.


jnantz said...

My sincere condolences on the loss of your friend. May those who replaced him in the line of duty be swift and safe, and prayers and blessings upon all who knew him.

Austin Carr said...

Thanks, Jake.