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The unsung hero who paid attention when no one else would

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain. "My Unsung Hero" tells the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. Today's story comes from Sarah Lubarsky.

SARAH LUBARSKY: Forty years ago, I was living in New York City with my fiance and came home from work and realized very quickly that he was extremely ill. He was vomiting. He was slurring his words. And I knew that we had to get to the hospital. So I grabbed my purse and off we went to a hospital in the Lower East Side. We sat there for a couple of hours, and it was pretty clear that nobody was going to pay attention to him. So off we went to another hospital. The same thing happened in the second hospital. So I decided that we needed to go and find a third. When we were getting ignored again and not being seen, I started to get very upset in the middle of the lobby.

And all of a sudden, this person comes up to me and says, how can I help you? What's going on here? And it was a young doc. All I really remember is that he had dark hair and was wearing a white coat. And I explained to him what was happening with my fiance, David. And I was afraid that something really bad was happening. And he said, you know, I just got done with my neurological residency up at Lenox Hill Hospital. I'll take him in the back and look. Within two or three minutes, he came out, and he said, you are absolutely right. Something is very seriously wrong. You need to get up to Lenox Hill Hospital. I've already called the doctor I did my residency with. He'll be waiting for you.

And I started to cry. And he said, my gosh, what's wrong? And I said, I don't have any more money. And without any hesitation, this young doc took a $20 bill out of his wallet, walked us out to the curb, shoved us into a cab and said, get up to Lenox Hill Hospital, and they'll take care of you. We get up there. David did have a bleed on the brain. And luckily for us, David made a full recovery. So if I were to see my unsung hero, I would probably cry first. Then I would give him a big hug, and then I would repay him the $20 he so graciously gave me 40 years ago.

KELLY: Sarah Lubarsky lives in Fairfield, Conn. Next year she and David will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. You can find more stories like this on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. And to share the story of your unsung hero, visit myunsunghero.org for instructions on how to send a voice memo.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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