At first the lady didn’t want anything to do with me. 

She had done a great thing, sure, but she hadn’t done it for glory and she definitely hadn’t done it to get her name in the paper. 

“I don’t need recognition,” she said. “I would have done that any day of the week for anyone.” 

I didn’t doubt her, either. True heroes are like that. 

When Kim Dupuis sprang into action to help two victims of a truck crash last week, she did it for the most basic, human reasons of them all. 

She did it because someone was hurt and needed help. She did it because she’s a mother, herself, and if those were her people inside that mangled pickup, she’d surely want someone there to comfort them. 

The more I chatted with the lady, the more I liked her. The more I APPRECIATED her. 

For many long minutes, Dupuis had crouched beside the battered truck and held the hand of a little boy who was 3 years old, but who, in the carnage of that terrible wreck, looked much younger. 

“He squeezed my finger so hard it was all I could do not to pick up that poor little boy, but I knew not to move him,” Dupuis said. “So for about 15 minutes, that baby squeezed my finger while I tried to keep his dad conscious, asking his name and his baby’s name. I am so heartbroken and praying for that little baby boy.” 

It was hours after the crash that I caught up with Dupuis and she told me her story. She was still rattled by the crash and still beside herself with concern for the wounded father and son whose prognoses were still unknown. 

“I’ve been worried sick,” she told me. 

I’ve seen a whole lot of bad accidents since I started working this beat. The violence of them is unreal. Even in relatively low-speed wrecks, you have victims, battered, bleeding and dazed, if they’re conscious at all, confined to a prison of twisted, smoking metal, waiting for help. 

I’ve talked to many of those victims and they describe a lonely and horrifying experience of pain and confusion and uncertainty. When help arrives, it arrives in the form of skilled firefighters with buzzing saws and equipment that rips and tears and tugs at all that mangled metal. 

Having someone there with light touches and encouraging words is everything, those people have told me. And on this particular night when a father and small child became prisoners of wreckage, Dupuis was that someone, and she took that role without hesitation. 

She later described it as an almost out-of-body experience, when her entire being was taken over by pure instinct and by a furious desire to help. There was no time to consider her own safety, she said. There were people in a bad situation and every second counted. 

“It just seems like the right thing to do, you know?” she said. “The hardest part was not actually picking that poor baby up and holding him. Mama’s instincts just wanted to cradle that beautiful little boy.” 

But Dupuis did the right thing. She left the medical stuff to the professionals and just remained there providing all the comfort and encouragement she could until the pair were eased out of the car and carted off to hospitals. 

For the next day or so, Dupuis and I talked a few times more, comparing notes and sharing whatever info we could find on the condition of the wounded. When word came down that the boy was improving and expected to recover, her gratitude was immense. 

“I’m so relieved to hear he’s stable!” she wrote on Facebook. “I’ve been pretty shook up over this whole horrific event. This update makes my heart happy again.” 

The little boy’s mother, as it turned out, was grateful, as well. Not just that her child was going to be OK, but that he had been tended to when his need was at its greatest. 

“I’m so glad he wasn’t alone,” the boy’s mother wrote to Dupuis. “Thank you for holding my baby’s hand when I couldn’t.” 

Kind of gets you in the feels, doesn’t it? 

Dupuis and I haven’t talked anymore since word came down that the boy and his father were going to survive. Who knows, maybe our paths will never cross again and that will be that. 

Talking to her in the aftermath, though, was the highlight of my week. It’s an honor to meet people who perform quiet heroics, because the reality is, not everyone is willing to throw themselves into the fray the way she did. 

“I didn’t think I was doing anything but being a decent citizen,” she wrote. “When I saw that baby, I was just a mom comforting a scared little baby boy.” 

In the end, Dupuis agreed to let me include some of her remarks in my story, but ultimately she didn’t see why there should be any kind of fuss about it. 

Like all good heroes, Dupuis remained humble all the way through.

A fundraiser has been launched to help the mother of the 3-year-old care for the boy.

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