When we think of superheroes, we probably picture capes and superpowers of the Marvel variety: People with unique skill sets that aren’t entirely human.
It’s fun to imagine what it would be like to possess the same abilities and how different the world would be if we had them, but they’re realistically out of reach.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s fine to dream — especially for kids, and especially when they want to use their powers for good. It’s rare that kids choose an actual, very-human hero as their role model.
But Tayir Thomas is proof that sometimes it happens. Tayir goes to Union Elementary School in Gallatin, Tennessee. He’s in the 5th grade and Oct. 26 was Super Hero day at the school.
When he showed up with a bandaged hand and wearing a sweatshirt with “Live” across the front, some people might have wondered if he’d missed the memo — but no, he’s probably one of the few who really got it.
“Today at school is Super Hero Day!” his mom, Brittany Thomas, posted on October 26. “I’m so glad my son has a local hero to admire.”
Tayir had chosen James Shaw, Jr. as his hero. That’s right: He’d chosen the man who stopped the shooting at the Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.
Shaw has denied that what he did was heroic, saying time and again that he was merely acting out of self-preservation.
“I did that completely out of a selfish act,” he said, according to NPR. “I was completely doing it just to save myself.”
“Now, me doing that, I did save other people. But I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator, or Superman or anybody like that. It was just, I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it.”
Tayir knows otherwise. “I didn’t want to be a fictional hero,” he told Fox 17. “I didn’t want to be a cartoon hero. I wanted to be somebody real that actually did something.”
“He really didn’t have to put his life in danger to save those people, but he did,” the boy said. “I’m thankful.”
And the best part was that he actually got to meet his hero in person. “I thought I was dreaming, but it wasn’t a dream,” he said.
“He’s been super, super excited about meeting him,” his mom said. But the boy isn’t the only one who benefited from this interaction. Shaw, too, has come away with something good.
“It blows my mind for sure. It makes me feel like what I did was right,” Shaw said. “I’m very inspired by him, very moved by him and thankful that he wanted to dress up like me.”
“I hope I continue to inspire people because he inspires me to influence more people. Much love to the young king.”
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