‘Everyday Heroes’


The other day I popped into the adjoining city of Malang to watch “Captain America II.” Even if you aren’t familiar with the character, take thirty seconds to look him over and it’s pretty obvious he is a superhero. Never mind the muscles, shield and flamboyant costume. With a name like ‘Captain America,’ there’s little doubt left about what he is. As I sat there watching this spectacle, I couldn’t help but wonder what it might be like to have those powers of my own. And that thought got me thinking about how much we idolize these types of figures…superheroes, athletes, movie stars, etc. And not long after this, I met Totok.

Totok is an employee at Donnies (thanks Corey!), more commonly known as McDonalds. I’ve been into this particular establishment a number of times and I always notice this one guy quietly doing his job with a big smile on his face. As far as I can see, he is mostly responsible for cleaning up after the slobs who leave their trash around. Some might argue this isn’t a job worth smiling about, but there he was, doing his thing. I took note.

I was just polishing off my gluttonous meal when Totok started cleaning the table next to mine. He smiled and I smiled back. He continued to smile, I got uncomfortable, said something to break the silence and he scurried off. ‘Lovely’, I thought to myself, ‘another weirdo.’ Moments later he returned with a scrap of paper in tow. On it was written, in English, “I’m sorry, I am deaf.” I tried to tell him no problem, but at this point I wasn’t sure what he was picking up, so I just sat, awkwardly eating my nuggets.

Five or ten minutes later, Totok returned wearing civilian clothes (his shift had just ended) and I motioned him to sit down with me. We then proceeded to have a conversation, via hand written notes, until his mother picked him up to go home. When he left I was filled with a sense of awe and embarrassment. Here was a disadvantaged man kicking butt at work with this amazing attitude. And then there was me, stuffing my face with fast food, inwardly complaining that I lacked the ability to leap small buildings. Shameful. Totok and those like him who are out there living life and not making excuses are the real “heroes.” I still wouldn’t mind those powers though!



10 thoughts on “‘Everyday Heroes’

  1. You are a super hero to me – I love how you make my day with your words that come from the heart.

  2. What a great story. You would have made Totok’s day which also makes you a hero. I bet he starts each shift wondering if Joe will come in again today for some nuggets and note writing 🙂

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