There’s no denying that Daniel Hernandez , the unassuming 20-year-old intern of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is a remarkable young man. But is he deserving of the “hero” label that, despite his objections, everyone’s pinning on him?
The more one learns about Daniel, the more one realizes that he is not your run-of-the-mill YouTube overnight sensation (a-la Ted Williams "the homeless man with the golden voice” currently enjoying his 15 minutes of fame). On the contrary, the University of Arizona junior has demonstrated a very valuable, scarce quality -- one highly regarded in our industry: Trustworthiness.
Daniel Hernandez has proven that he’s not only a fast-thinking, courageous guy, but more importantly, someone who can be trusted when it’s crucial. It’s easy to trust others with trivial stuff, but not so with one’s own life. Gabrielle Giffords probably never imagined her very survival would one day depend on the young man who just 5 days earlier had become her intern. I suspect Daniel has now earned her family’s trust for life.
Heroic acts are like flashes of light that come and go in an instant. But true heroism is never improvised, and often the result of a lifetime of character building. I admire Daniel’s recent display of heroism in those critical minutes after the shooting and before the paramedics arrived at the scene. I admire his inner strength and trustworthiness even more – developing these qualities took him years of hard work, and a lot of guts, too.