A story about a Dannevirke St John Health Shuttle driver this week revealed a humble hero.

Volunteer driver Kevin Hall saved the patients he was driving to Palmerston North, by taking evasive action when he saw a car coming around a corner towards his vehicle, sideways and out of control.

The patients he was driving want Mr Hall to be recommended for a medal.

Read more: St John driver who swerved clear of car hailed hero

But Mr Hall can't understand what all the fuss is about.

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It seems to be a common response. People who selflessly help someone in need, often putting themselves at risk in the process, tend to look bewildered when tagged with the hero label and proclaim they were "only doing what anyone would do".

But are they?

I suspect not.

If "anyone" was prepared to step in and help in an emergency, we wouldn't need the word hero. Nor, perhaps, the word bystander.

It takes a certain mindset to think of others first and to translate that thought into action. Often, as in Mr Hall's case, very quickly.

It would be easy to freeze with fear, run from the threat or wait helplessly for others to save the situation.

I would hazard a guess that most of us have wondered which camp we fall into...would you freeze, flee or take up the challenge and help?

The best case scenario is that none of us have to find out. But if we do, let's hope we're cut from the same cloth as Mr Hall and his ilk.

The vulnerable in our community need their humble heroes.