Catherine Ouellet was in tears when she finally met the man who saved her aunt’s life.
Only days earlier, Ouellet had been struggling to free the 80-year-old from the wreckage of Air Canada Flight 624, which crashed in Halifax after trying to land in a snowstorm. But since her aging relative uses a walker to get around, Ouellet was starting to fear the worse. Fortunately for them, however, there was a hero sitting just a few seats down.
“Her niece was holding her by the arm and trying to get her to move along,” Nova Scotia resident Steve Earle told the CBC. “I came down after them and I took her by the other arm and it really wasn’t working. She didn’t have enough in her legs to keep going.”
As leaking fuel filled the inside of the aircraft, fears of an explosion mounted. Earle thought fast and slung the senior over his shoulder, hauling her to safety.
That woman is now the only person still in hospital from the crash, and it took her niece Ouellet days just to track Earle down afterwards to offer proper gratitude. But the selfless way the Nova Scotian acted that day, combined with the way he simply faded back into his normal life afterwards, inspired people across the country. Most notably, in Ontario.
According to Metro Morning, a teacher from Beavercrest Community School in Markdale was so inspired by Earle’s actions, that he got his entire class to write letters thanking him.
“The representation in the media that kids have as role models are very largely people who spend a great deal of their time trying to get everyone to look at them,” Marty Elkins told the broadcaster. But in the case of Earle “[the media] couldn’t really find him for a day or two. He wasn’t grasping for attention. But when they did find him, he was a model of humility.”
Elkins believes stories like Earle’s are especially important to highlight in an age when kids are being bombarded with things like Kim Kardashian’s latest nude photo shoot or the legions of trolls dwelling on internet commenting threads. Doing things solely for the purpose of being seen (i.e. selfies) has become trendy, but Earle’s actions were seen as a refreshing change in the opposite direction.
“That was the lesson we were really trying to drive home. This idea of doing good for good’s sake. Not just because you want admiration or praise,” he said.
And it looks like the assignment paid off.
“The kids really brought their A-game for this assignment because they can tell the assignment is real,” he said. “What they wrote down on paper blew me away.”
The teacher said that while he doesn’t expect Earle to reply, he would be open to facilitating a discussion between him and his class, if he does.
And as far as homework goes, that definitely deserves an A+.
Marty Elkins did not respond to The Loop’s requests for comments.