The following is an excerpt from a book called, “THE GREATEST SCIENTIST ALIVE” by Kees van den Bosch:
A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her…. a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
This story is so amazing on so many levels. We see the compassion to keep this beautiful creature alive along with the whale’s recognition and gratitude for those who help to free her.
The definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. What was taught through compassion was an incredible lesson on empathy that I’ll never forget.
A few years ago, I was fishing with my daughter. I was using a cast net to catch minnows and would feed a few to the seagulls and pelicans. One seagull in particular caught my attention. He had fishing line wrapped around his wing along with a fish hook caught within the same wing and was unable to fly. He look emaciated and was really hungry. We fed him several minnows and then I grabbed my beach towel and tried to catch him. After about 20 minutes or so, I finally caught him and removed the hook and line from his wing. He flew away but then, something amazing happened.
He circled back around and would make his seagull sound when we flew by my daughter and he. He did that 7 times in a row to show his gratitude and then flew away. It’s a memory that my daughter and I will never forget.
Please think about these stories when you see other people, animals, or any sentient form of life in need of your help. All it takes is a little compassion!