We hear so much today about heroes and the outstanding things they do to help others but have you ever thought about the people in your own life who might be considered a hero, maybe in your eyes only. Let me tell you about my hero but first I want to set the stage for this tale. The story takes place in 2006.


When we bought out rural property in 2005, the goal was to eventually sell our house in the city and retire to the country where we could relax and enjoy a slower pace of life. However, in order to achieve this objective, it required months of Chuck and I working non-stop, seven days a week, to get everything the way we wanted. We had mastered the skill of completing 30 hours of work within a 24-hour day.


It is a well-known fact, that when extensive renovations take place, major headaches always follow. No sooner were old problems fixed or changed, when new issues would surface. The pool liner springing a leak, the septic backing up and the hot tub lid catching on fire were just a few of the crisis we were dealing with. All these trying situations were taking their toll on our sanity. We needed a break. We needed to get away.


A weekend was booked at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto. I looked so forward to this mini, stress-free holiday. When we arrived at our destination, we were informed by the hotel that they had upgraded our room to a deluxe guest suite with a balcony on a much higher floor than we had anticipated. Furthermore, we had a view of the lake. Could things get any better? For two days, we were going to live like the rich and famous.


We excitedly entered our room. I threw my purse on the bed, moved the security bar upwards from the sliding door to the side of the door frame and rushed out on the balcony to look at the magnificent view of Lake Ontario with the tiny, little sail boats dotting its surface. We were on the 30th floor, so everything below looked like miniatures. (It is also important to my story that I tell you, our balcony wasn’t very big, just large enough to accommodate two lawn chairs and a tiny drink table sitting between them.)


Chuck came out to join me and closed the door behind him. Click! DISASTER. I had not snapped the security bar into its bracket on the door frame. Without realizing it, I had more or less left it sitting in midair. When Chuck slammed the door shut, that jolt made the Charlie bar fall back down into its lock position. We could not get back into the room. There was a strong possibility that we would be out there for some time. No one would hear us from the balcony as we were so high up, we could almost touch the clouds plus our “upgraded” room was the only one on that floor that had a balcony. No one would be coming to our suite until the next day when room service was scheduled for cleaning. Scary thoughts flooded my mind and I could even see the newspaper headlines. “Two adults found dead after being locked out on hotel balcony for a week.” I felt sick. To make things even more terrifying, my two big phobias kicked in – a fear of heights and a fear of confined spaces. Bingo. I had a full card.


I was in panic mode. “What will we do?” I asked Chuck. “Clam down and let me look at the situation.” were his instructions. He looked in his pockets and all he had was a toonie and a loonie. Not exactly tools for breaking and entering. However, there was some good news. When the bar fell back down, it had not hit the bracket dead on. It was caught on the edge of the locking mechanism. Chuck bent down and placed the toonie under the door. He them placed the loonie on top of the toonie which raised the door a trifle. This gave the door a tiny amount of jiggle room and by rocking it back and forth for about 30 minutes, Chuck was able to bit by bit move the bar away from the bracket until finally it fell entirely away. We could open the door. I immediately rushed into the bathroom and threw up.


Chuck was my hero and I told him so. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly the start of a perfect getaway but it could have been so much worse. I was grateful that we still had two days left to recuperate, steady our nerves and try to enjoy the remaining time there. We had to recharge our batteries as only God knew what laid in wait for us at home on the Monday.


I pride myself in the fact that I DO learn from my past mistakes. Since that day, I never go out on a balcony unless I can leave the door wide open and I always carry my purse with a fully charged cell phone in it if I do venture out on a deck.


Heroes can appear at anytime and anywhere so look around for your hero. When you are lucky enough to have one, you thank God, he or she was there for you when you needed them most.