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A person helped a woman who fell on the ice, and changed her life in the process

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain. "My Unsung Hero" tells the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. Today's story comes from Lauren Passell. In January 2015, Passell slipped and fell on an icy New York City street. She had been training for a marathon and had noticed her hip was sore but figured it was from all the running.

LAUREN PASSELL: It turns out it was a hairline stress fracture. So when I fell on the ice that day, it completely broke my hip. I remember seeing some people come to me, but one woman came to me that changed my life, and her name was Sharon. And, you know, she was about my age. And all I remember is seeing her kind face all bundled up with a big hat and scarf. And she pushed everyone out of the way and said, I've got this.

She helped me up. And I was like, I have to go get more coffee. I have to go to work. And she was like, you're hurt. And I didn't even know that I was hurt. But the second she said that, I realized that I couldn't even stand up and that I was in a ton of pain. So she said, I'm going to help you get a cab. And I said, no, you don't have to do that. I'm sure you have places to be. Please don't. I can do it. And honestly, the second time she said, no, I'm getting you a cab, I thought, oh, thank God. I don't think I can do this alone.

So the cab came, and she said, you know what? I'm going to get in the cab with you and go with you. And I said, please, Sharon, you have to go to work. This is ridiculous. I can do this by myself. But in my head, I'm thinking, God, please have her get in the cab with me. I can't do this alone. She gets in the cab with me. And she says exactly where to take me, which is NYU Langone, to the emergency drop-off, which - I never would have known to say that. So we pull up, and she says, you know what? I'm going to go get the wheelchair for you, and I'll wheel you in. And I'm like, please don't do that. You've done so much already. And in my head, I'm like, I hope she comes with me because I can't even sit up.

And she wheels me in, and then I say, you have to go to work now. But in my head, I'm like, please stay with me. I'm so scared. And she stayed with me. She helped me with my paperwork. She helped me go to the bathroom, and she put me in good hands. And they said, this is a real emergency. We have to operate now, or she could die because of blood clots. If I could talk to Sharon right now, I would say, thank you, Sharon, for saving my life. And I hope one day I can pick someone off the sidewalk just like you did for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KELLY: Lauren Passell lives in New York City. After her injury, doctors told her she would not be able to run again. But a year after she broke her hip, Passell came in first in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. You can find more stories like this on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. And to share the story of your unsung hero, visit myunsunghero.org for instructions on how to send a voice memo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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