Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman with Cancer Can't Make It Up Stairs, So Kind Stranger Picks Her Up and Carries Her


The steps are steep and the rows are crowded, but that does not stop fans from flocking to see their favorite artists perform in enormous venues like NRG Stadium in Houston.

On March 16, Thomas and Shayla Harwell, along with their 2-year-old daughter were among the sea of faces excited to watch Brad Paisley take the stage at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The Harwells noticed a family trying to make their way downstairs, an elderly woman with her daughter and two young granddaughters.

The elderly woman was having trouble navigating the steps, and Shayla Harwell knew her husband would be willing to help.


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Playing @rodeohouston is always one of the most incredible experiences a band can have. Hope you had as much fun as we did!

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“She was having a rough time,” Shayla Harwell told CNN. “I nudged my husband and told him that they may need help.”

The woman reportedly had suffered a stroke and was currently fighting cancer, according to KTRK-TV.

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Right away, Harwell helped the woman walk down the steps and told her he would return at the end of the concert.

Harwell has been a firefighter for 15 years with the Hardin Volunteer Fire Department, a city located about 50 miles outside of Houston.

“I helped her downstairs, and I wasn’t going to leave until I helped her upstairs,” Harwell said.

After the concert, Harwell picked the woman up and carried her to the top of the stadium, a move that Shayla Harwell said made her proud.

She took a photo of her husband and the unnamed woman and posted it online to show family and friends.

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The post quickly began to spread, leaving the Harwells stunned that people would react with such applause and praise.

“I’m almost shocked, I really honestly didn’t think it would go that far,” Shayla Harwell said.

“She was very appreciative. When he placed her down at the top of the stairs, she was grinning ear to ear. It really touched her to have him help her.”

Harwell was simply doing what came naturally.

“I’m a senior captain in the fire department. My job is to help people,” he said.

“If you’re alive and breathing, you shouldn’t need an excuse to help someone else. If they need help, help them.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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