This is my Dad. He sent me this picture because he was feeling proud of himself for stealing my Batman shirt.
My Dad is my hero. When I was a kid, he would wake up every morning at 4 am and drive to south Philly to work at the airport. He was a luggage handler. He was one of the guys who threw suitcases under the plane.
My dad worked there for 20 years. 60 – 80 hour work weeks were not uncommon. He did it for his family. He sacrificed himself for us.
He’s been a paramedic for almost as many years. My dad has saved countless lives.
I remember about a year ago I watched a Ted Talk by a man named Matthew O’Reilly, and I sent the video to my dad. Matthew was a paramedic. His Ted Talk was about how he would respond to patients when they asked him if they were going to die. Matthew said that he would tell them the honest answer. If the patient was going to die, he would tell them yes.
He would talk about the peace that people would feel when they heard the truth about their lives coming to an end.
I showed it to my dad. He immediately called me. He was angry.
“Fuck that guy. First off, I don’t lose people when they are in the back of my ambulance. When I have a patient, they get to the hospital still breathing. Second, your job is to save their lives, not to make them feel better. Do your fucking job.”
Like I told you, my Dad is a hero.
I’m sure my father wouldn’t mind me telling you that he’s had real PTSD issues from the heroin epidemic in Philadelphia. He’s walked in on countless dead 20 something-year-olds with heroin needles in their arms.
One young girl in particular had a horrific impact on him. That was a difficult time.
But there is another case. There is one young man who my dad saved. Every year, on the date in which my dad and his team brought this kid back from death, his mom writes to the paramedics to thank them for saving her son.
I grew up with a lot of friends who had dead beat dads.
When I was younger, I remember always feeling so angry that we struggled so much. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand the tremendous sacrifice my dad (and my mom) made to raise us with food in our bellies and strength in our hearts.
Here’s to all the dads out there, who stick around to raise boys into men and give daughters a shoulder to lean on and a place to feel at home.
Love you pop. Happy fathers day!