DEAR ABBY: I have been reading the letters in your column about acts of kindness, and I'd like to tell you about the young man who saved my husband from drowning. Please don't reveal my name if this is printed. My husband is embarrassed about the incident.
He and I were on vacation in Hawaii and went snorkeling at 8 a.m., something we had done many times before. However, this time, when my husband, who is asthmatic, looked up and realized how far from the beach we were, he panicked, and it brought on an asthma attack. He kept saying he couldn't breathe and he wouldn't try to swim. I tried to get him to hold onto me so I could pull him in (I'm a strong swimmer), but he kept saying we weren't getting anywhere and pulling away from me.
We were right in front of a hotel, and I could see people on their balconies. I began yelling for someone to help. No one came. As we were bobbing around, my husband kept drifting away. I continued to yell for help.
A young man suddenly appeared on the rocks in his bathing suit, wearing a snorkel mask and carrying fins. He climbed down the sharp coral rocks and yelled that he was coming to us, and we should just relax. For some reason, my husband was able to believe him, and they started a conversation. The young man put on his flippers and entered the water, which was dangerous because of the rocks and the surging waters. He took hold of my husband, told him to relax -- then pulled him all the way to the beach while I swam on my own.
When we reached the sand, not one person came forward to help us, although many were standing and watching. No one said a word. The young man told us he was a physician and gave us his name. He was Dr. Tom Elgin from California. If it weren't for his courageous action, I doubt my husband would have survived. I bless him in my prayers daily. I hope God is good to him. -- GRATEFUL IN FLORIDA
DEAR GRATEFUL: Your letter gives new meaning to doctors as lifesavers. Dr. Elgin was indeed a hero -- and I'll bet he's going to be surprised when he begins hearing from friends and acquaintances all across the country telling him so.
P.S. Tell your husband to stay in shallow water hereafter.