Juxtaposition is a tool I like to use in my writing, to give the reader a contrasting viewpoint to what is currently happening in the world—especially when what is happening in the world is pretty darn awful.
In Memphis, Tennessee this week, we learned of the brutal murder of mother, wife, and school teacher Eliza Fletcher at the hands of convicted felon Cleotha Abston. Then, the shooting rampage by Ezekiel Kelly that left four people dead and three injured. Kelly decided it would be a good idea to Facebook Live his carnage.
So, after having to document and inform about two miscreants with a total disdain for human life, hearing about a young woman who went above and beyond to preserve someone’s life is not only a palate cleanser but worthy of this week’s Feel-Good Friday.
From WAVE in Louisville, Kentucky:
The quick actions of a Central High School student on the way home from school may have saved the life of a gunshot victim on Wednesday.
“I had to do something,”16-year-old Nylaia Carter said. “I’m trained to stop the bleeding, so I had to do something, anything.”
Nylaia relied on emergency first aid she learned in class as a sophomore.
Using her sweatshirt to make a tourniquet, she stopped the bleeding and kept the man conscious until paramedics arrived.
Nylaia’s father Adam Carter was driving her home from basketball practice when she noticed a man slumped over on the sidewalk. Nylaia told her father to stop so they could help him. Mr. Carter hesitated, but Nylaia was insistent.
”I was proud of my daughter because she told me to, ‘pull over Dad,’” her father Adam Carter said. “And I didn’t want to pull over. It had been a long day. I wanted to get home.”
But Nylaia did not hesitate.
According to WLKY News, police said the man was shot two and a half miles away, and probably attempted to make it to a hospital, but the loss of blood made it impossible to go any further, so he stopped where he was; which happened to be across from Central High School.
Nylaia’s story follows the pattern of my previous Feel-Good Friday stories involving teenagers who become lifesavers. There is a readiness and a preparedness by which they conduct their everyday lives. So, when the time arises when life-saving action is needed, these young people are ready and able to rise to the challenge.
Nylaia hopes to get a basketball scholarship for college, where she plans to pursue physical therapy. Her interest in pre-med led Nylaia to take a course in her sophomore year in emergency procedures offered through Allied Health. This program is offered in a number of Kentucky schools, as well as other educational institutions across the country, for students interested in professions such as physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other health-related roles.
This program is where Nylaia learned about bullet wounds and how to stop the bleeding. Over a year later, that training made the difference between survival and demise. Five minutes after Nylaia applied the life-saving tourniquet, the paramedics arrived and rushed the man to the hospital, where he was given more medical aid. He is alive and is recovering.
Days after leaving the scene, Nylaia and her father visited the man in the hospital. They said he was grateful and surprised to find out she was only 16.
”And he remembered her being there,” Carter said. “But she had a book bag, so he thought she was the paramedic. So we had a chance to talk to him and pray with him and I think that she has a lifelong friend now.”
What makes the difference between a Nylaia Carter, a Cleotha Abston, or an Ezekiel Kelly? Many things, but two things stand out just from this short video: Nylaia’s faith in God and Nylaia’s father. Adam Carter obviously helped to cultivate her sense of compassion and desire to help others. Despite his initial unwillingness, Mr. Carter followed her lead to help the gunshot victim, and marveled himself that the seeds he had planted and nurtured in his own daughter had come to bear fruit; and that fruit was critical in saving someone’s life.
And according to all the news reports, Nylaia is taking her heroic act in stride, exhibiting humility and grace.
”Yeah, I did what I was supposed to do,” Nylaia said. “He’s alive and that’s all that matters.”