If this story does not make you feel good about social responsibility, community, and plain old humanity...then you're evil, evil I say.
It really shouldn't be weird news except that in most cases, people will stand around doing nothing. So it may be weird in the sense it is uncommon.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... RER7E2.DTL
3 men's bravery honored
Police commission will celebrate actions that saved young teen's life
Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
It was an unusually sunny afternoon May 19 as Kermit Kubitz strolled into Creighton's American Bakery in San Francisco's Miraloma Park neighborhood for a cup of coffee.
The 60-year-old lawyer was enjoying a leisurely Saturday in this quiet neighborhood near Twin Peaks and Mount Davidson. Nearby, Dr. Sang-ick Chang, the head of a San Mateo hospital, and Swedish immigrant Jonas Svallin were also basking in the unseasonably warm weather.
The three men had never met, but they were about to be drawn into a harrowing drama in which a 14-year-old girl and Kubitz would nearly die.
An hour later, Chang had saved the girl's life. Svallin had chased down her attacker. Kubitz was on an ambulance stretcher, and a recently paroled man was headed back to jail.
At a public ceremony tonight, the San Francisco Police Commission will honor the three men for their bravery.
Kubitz has lived on the south side of Mount Davidson for more than two decades, a place he describes as "a very quiet neighborhood where people can go out in their bathrobes or house coats to put out the trash." And like many people in the neighborhood, Kubitz depends on the small neighborhood center on Portola Drive for his basics.
After watching the Preakness Stakes horse race, the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. attorney drove into the small shopping center's lot.
As Kubitz was leaving with coffee from the Creighton American Bakery, a man rushed inside.
"That's strange," Kubitz thought as he turned back toward the counter to watch the man.
The man was Chris Scott Thomas. The day before, Thomas had been released from San Quentin State Prison.
The 26-year-old has a long criminal history. He has been convicted for numerous property crimes, and in January, was arrested after he violated his parole. He spent the next four months at San Quentin.
Prison officials believe he was dropped off at a bus station around 9 a.m. on May 18 in downtown San Rafael, about 20 miles north of Creighton's. It is not clear where he went or what he did over the next 30 hours. But witnesses said he arrived at the bakery around 3:30 p.m. on May 19, asked for a glass of water, then left.
Several minutes later, he brushed past Kubitz and darted back into the bakery.
When Kubitz turned to watch Thomas, he noticed the 7-inch hunting knife in the convict's hand. He said he watched as Thomas began to punch and stab a girl in the cafe. The girl, now 15, did not want her name used in this story.
"I couldn't believe it and yelled 'Hey, hey!' " recalled Kubitz. "He had her cornered, so I ran over and started pulling on his left arm."
Kubitz assumed it was a domestic violence situation - what else, he wondered, would explain such an unprovoked attack?
"I had only two thoughts: one, I have to get him out of the door, and two, oh my God, this guy could kill me too," he said.
Overcoming his fear, the lawyer tried to pull the attacker away from the teenager.
Witnesses say he then turned on Kubitz, stabbing him numerous times - first in his chest, above his heart. As the two men struggled, they moved toward the door of the business.
Finally, the attacker rammed the blade into Kubitz's right side, and left it there, sticking out midway up his ribcage.
"I ended up on my back, with the knife in my ribs, and I didn't like that look so I grabbed it out of my ribs and threw it out on the sidewalk," Kubitz said.
Thirty-six-year-old Svallin was standing outside the Starbucks next to the bakery when he noticed the commotion.
By the time he ran over, Kubitz was on the ground near the doorway and had pulled the knife from his ribs. Svallin kicked the weapon out of the reach of the attacker, who fled.
Svallin said he chased Thomas down Woodside Avenue toward Laguna Honda Hospital for about a half-mile, keeping a safe distance between himself and the parolee. He told police he watched Thomas jump over a fence at the adjacent Youth Guidance Center and ran over to the hospital's parking lot, where he found two sheriff's deputies. He pointed out the blood-spattered suspect crawling out from some bushes.
Thomas was arrested and now faces multiple felony charges, including two counts of attempted murder.
But the nightmare wasn't over back at the bakery.
Across the street, Chang headed back to his car parked near the bakery cafe. With arms full of groceries, the 48-year-old father of two was thinking about the menu for a dinner party planned that night at his St. Francis Wood house: marinated and grilled flank steak, artichokes, risotto and salad.
He was also a bit preoccupied with work. He was set to take the helm that Monday as interim CEO of the public San Mateo Medical Center, a 509-bed hospital on the Peninsula.
As Chang approached his parking spot, he noticed some sort of scuffle in the door of the bakery.
"I put down my groceries and took my glasses off, and walked toward the two of them," Chang recalled. "Suddenly I saw a very large hunting knife. ... I immediately backed way off."
After the attacker fled, Kubitz, whose lung had been punctured by the second stab, stood up and asked for help, yelling to the small crowd that had gathered outside the bakery.
As Kubitz walked back into the bakery clutching his side, Chang went to work.
"I thought, 'Well, I guess dinner is over,' " he said.
The girl was lying still on the floor. She had been stabbed in the throat, wrist, legs and stomach, including a wound to a carotid artery on her neck that could easily have been fatal.
Chang could "see she was gravely, critically injured, with only moments to live," he said later. The doctor knew that he needed to stop as much bleeding as possible.
Meanwhile, Kubitz was beginning to wheeze and realized that his lung had been punctured. He lay on the floor, propped his legs up and asked the bakery employees for napkins to plug the gash in his side.
He and the girl gave witnesses their names and phone numbers, and both of their families headed to the bakery.
Then he, the girl and Chang waited for an ambulance for what seemed like hours.
At San Francisco General Hospital, Kubitz spent four days with a chest tube that allowed him to breathe from his collapsed lung. He was released from the hospital within the week but had to take about a month off work.
The girl's injuries were more severe, and she is still recovering after several surgeries.
Ingleside Police Capt. Paul Chignell, who will present the three men with a commendation at the Police Commission meeting, said the circumstances that day continue to amaze him.
"In the course of a career, (police officers) maybe come across one or two cases like this one that are just horrific," he said. "But the thing that confronts you, even though the girl was dying there on the floor, is that so much good came out of this. I believe her parents would say the same. These three guys put their lives on the line and saved her life. ... That's not hyperbole. They really did."
Chang insists that Kubitz and Svallin are the real heroes, and he also praised the emergency officials, including the fire captain, on scene that afternoon and the police who are investigating the crime.
Kubitz says he has no regrets, other than wishing he could have reacted faster. He considers the entire situation lucky - it was lucky that he was able to intervene, lucky that Chang and Svallin were there, lucky that the paramedics and emergency workers arrived quickly.
For her part, the teenage girl calls the group her "Three Musketeers" - they all needed each other to save her.
The ceremony will be held at the Police Commission meeting this evening, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, Room 400.