The Kindness Of A StrangerIt was a beautiful, sunny day as I walked along to beach taking pictures of waves kissing the sand, the skyline stretching across the vast waters, sea oats blowing in the wind, the rocks that created the levee jutting out - the pelican sitting on top of one of those rocks - It was my first time to Florida, my first time experiencing the ocean, and my first time to see a pelican. As I walked closer, snapping more pictures, I noticed that the pelican appeared sort of sad. I zoomed in closer with my camera and noticed that it had a fishing line dangling from it's foot!
I didn't even think about what I was going to do. I only knew that I had to help the poor thing. Despite my best friend trailing behind me yelling, "Get back here! You're gonna get hurt!" I continued walking towards the levee, upset that I was the only one willing to at least TRY to do something. As I began climbing the rocks of the levee, I noticed a couple who looked as if they could be models taking pictures of each other. I politely waved at them, pointed towards the pelican and made my way closer. When I climbed down to the bottom, I was still a good 5 feet or so from the bird. I noticed that the fishing line was wrapped around it's foot and the other end was tangled in the rocks.
Before I even had a chance to grab the line, the man who had been taking pictures was there next to me, trying to break the line with his hands. I was so shocked that he had come to help me. I knew he was going to cut himself trying to pull the line in two with his bare hands like that, so I reached into the water, grabbed the line and rubbed it across the edge or a rock cutting it. I asked him what we should do to help the bird, but the guy didn't speak English. Somehow through hand gestures and I guess similar thoughts and concerns, we decided to try to reach the bird. He began pulling the fishing line and I felt so terrible for the poor pelican. I knew that had to hurt...It didn't take too long before the pelican decided we were crazy and jumped off of the rock into the water. I wasn't sure if it was ok, but I assumed since it was no longer tangled in the rocks it would be able to get away safely and heal.
It wasn't very long at all, however, before the pelican was washing back towards the shore. I walked over and stood there watching it, my heart aching to help, my mind spinning as to how to help it without hurting it or myself, and my determination strong and unwavering, I began to walk into the water. Out of nowhere, here came the man again! Looking back, I think he must have been watching me thinking I was the dumbest broad he ever saw. That or he just really cared too...Probably both. He walked out ahead of me with his beach towel, wrapped it around the pelican and brought it up to the shore where me and the other girl(his girlfriend?) stood there trying to help get the hook out. Eventually, his girlfriend was able to get it. She and my best friend took a couple of pictures of me, the man, and the pelican, but I felt terrible for making it endure those pictures. Luckily, it only last about 10 seconds and then he carried the bird back out in the water and set it free.
I hope that the pelican managed to heal quickly and is still living a happy, healthy life. I am so grateful to the man who not only came to the pelican's rescue, but probably mine as well. lol. I'm sure I would have been flogged....and pelicans are big birds!!! It's encouraging to know that there are still people out there who will help an endangered animal or a complete stranger who can't even speak the same language. His kindness is something I will never forget.