It’s been five days since Hurricane Harvey crashed into Texas and Louisiana, leaving thousands displaced and at least 30 dead.
While the aftermath of such a catastrophic natural disaster is horrifying, there’s something bittersweet about the way it brings humanity together. In the face of death and the wake of tragedy, we somehow have a greater capacity to tear down the walls built up by religion, race and socioeconomic status, and see people for who they really are: human.
Sons, daughters, mothers and fathers. Simply neighbors—in need of our help.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2
Amidst the rising racial division that has plagued our country in recent months, one such story is shining a ray of hope for this kind of unity.
Among the Houston residents who have gone out on their own to offer assistance to hurricane victims is professional MMA fighter, Derrick Lewis. Alongside the rescue crews, Lewis has served as one of the selfless volunteers wading through the treacherous floodwaters of Houston to help in any way that he can.
The UFC fighter, known as the “The Black Beast,” showed a softer side of his bad boy persona when he encountered a stranded hurricane victim who was clutching a Confederate flag, an item that has long symbolized racism in America.
“I picked up one guy and his family, his wife―he just kept apologizing to me, because all he really had was his clothes, and he wanted to take his Confederate flag,” said Lewis. “He wanted to take that with him, and he just apologized and said, ‘Man, I’ll sit in the back of your truck, man. I don’t want to have my flag inside of your truck like this.’”
But Lewis’ response left the ashamed man speechless.
“I said, ‘Man, I’m not worried about that,’’’ Lewis explained.
Clearly embarrassed by her husband’s unwillingness to leave behind his precious flag, she kept hitting him saying, “You should have just left it.”
Unshaken by the man’s actions, Lewis again reassured the couple that he was not offended.
“I don’t care about that,” Lewis told MMA Junkie. “I live in Texas. It ain’t nothing new. I’ve been living in the South all my life, and it ain’t nothing I hadn’t seen before or discussed about. I don’t care about that type of stuff. I just wanted to help him.”
“I’ve always been that type of guy that I like to help people more than I like to help myself and so I just seized the opportunity,” he added.
And what does he want in return?
This Good Samaritan just has one modest request…
“Just send me some Popeyes,” he playfully remarked. “Give me that 12-piece.”
With the police and firefighters making public news announcements that they were only going to help in “life-or-death situations,” Lewis knew he couldn’t be a passive bystander.
To him, the satisfaction of helping those in need far outweighs his successes in the UFC ring.
“It feels good to help people,” commented the Houston, Texas, heavyweight on Twitter.
Kudos to this notoriously tough guy for softening the hardened hearts of our divided nation with his wise words backed by BOLD action.
Now, somebody get this guy a 12-piece…