The hero next to us, the hero inside us

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

Christina Robles-Favela surely did not go to work Aug. 27 with a plan to do something courageous. But the 33-year-old Chicago-area assisted living worker's response to an unexpected event the next morning made her a hero.

Robles-Favela was riding a bus home from work when a fellow passenger allegedly repeatedly punched a pregnant rider he did not know as he headed for the exit, according to an article on DNAinfo.com. Robles-Favela, according to the media outlet and her own accounts on GoFundMe and Facebook, talked to and tended to 18-year-old Brenda Torres on the bus as 21-year-old Steven Bailey was subdued by the bus driver, and she stayed with her in the hospital and accompanied her when she went to the police station, too.

Torres, also a stranger to Robles-Favela before the incident, had been on the way to her job as a food service worker at a retail store when the alleged attack occurred, Robles-Favela said. (As of last week, Robles-Favela was declining further media interviews out of respect for Torres' wish for privacy.)

The assisted living worker's actions immediately after the alleged attack already go beyond what many would have done. In fact, Robles-Favela said, other riders on the bus screamed or recorded the event on their phones, but none stepped in to assist Torres.

But Robles-Favela's actions since the incident have made her not only a hero but also a humanitarian, forever changing Torres' life as well as her own.

She started a GoFundMe effort (now ended) that raised $8,890 for the medical needs of Torres and the baby boy she expects in a month. And now she has started a second GoFundMe effort with the goal of raising $7,000 for Torres' needs related to child care, education, transportation and savings.

Robles-Favela and her husband, David Favela, also will be hosting a baby shower for Torres and have accepted Torres' request to be the baby's godparents. The couple even has offered Torres and her boyfriend, who currently live with his mother, a place to stay with the baby.

“I told her, ‘I will be in your life for as long as you want,' ” Robles-Favela told DNAinfo.

A court date for Bailey has been set for Sept. 5. Robles-Favela said she will be there with Torres.

She will be with the rest of us as well, in spirit, reminding us of the good people who work in senior living and inspiring us to bring our best selves to each day.

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Follow her on Twitter at @Lois_Bowers.

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