Thunder Dog

  • Sept. 11, 2018
  • #9487

Trust and teamwork enable two people and a seeing-eye dog escape from the World Trade Towers.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada, and today we remember the stories of 9/11.

And you’ve probably heard a lot of those stories, but maybe not this very touching one. On that fateful day, September 11, 2001, Michael Hingson, who was born blind, worked on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center. Michael sat at his desk with his brand new seeing-eye dog, Roselle. And suddenly, when the building shook, this 51-year-old man knew something awful had crippled the structure. Quickly, Michael told his coworkers not to worry about him, but to get out of the office soon. Michael had no idea that terrorists had plowed an airplane filled with fuel into the north tower. All he knew was that he was on the 78th floor.

Remembering that awful day, Michael wrote: “The office was empty except for myself, and David, a co-worker and my dog Roselle. I took a moment to call my wife and tell her that I’d be home as soon as I could.” And with that, Michael hung up, grabbed the harness for Roselle and began issuing the commands for her to work. But Roselle had only been his guide dog for nine months and he was not sure she would know what to do under such frightening circumstances. But Michael says that he still I chose to trust her judgment. And with the help of his coworker, Michael and Roselle found their way out of the office, passing the flaming chunks of debris, and onto the stairwell. They choked at the stench of jet fuel wafting down the north tower.

The temperature in the stairwell was sweltering. Roselle was panting heavily, her throat scratched by the fumes. But all three — this blind man, his guide dog, and coworker — all three managed to make it down and out of the building. Not twenty minutes later, the tower caved in, sending a rolling gray cloud of ash, glass, and rubble toward them. That is when they heard a woman walking nearby saying she had so much debris in her eyes that she couldn’t see! Amazingly, this blind man, Michael, and Roselle helped guide her away from the building. Wow!

The horrible experience came with a viable lesson about teamwork, trust, and love. Michael says, “In the stairwell, we found ways to work together to hold back panic. We were forced to stop often, and we took those times to encourage each other with a quiet word, or a joke, or a gentle pat on the back. Roselle even gave doggie kisses to each firefighter who climbed past us to go up the stairs. My goodness, that’s the part of the story that touches me so deeply, those firefighters continued up the stairwell while everyone else was racing to get down. The strangers on that stairwell trusted each other, worked together, and survived. Michael goes on to say, Jesus taught us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ After the terrorist attacks, love and goodwill poured out on us from the world over. Love is a choice. Others will never love us unless we are willing to love first.”

Well, Michael and Roselle, thank you for reminding us of the powerful lesson of love. Friend, you’ve got to see a photo of this brave man who cannot see and his yellow Labrador retriever, Roselle. Just visit my radio page today at Joniradio.org where I posted a great picture of them both. And today, don’t forget to love your neighbor as yourself. Show selfless love, yes, even to a stranger, because love like that once saved a blind man, his coworker, and the dog. By the way, I would love to hear what you are praying about or a favorite Bible verse that you are memorizing. Tell me about it. Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org. Or you can always write me at Joni and Friends, Post Office Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376.

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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