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My Unsung Hero - Kathryn Fumie

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. And today's story comes from Kathryn Fumie. In the summer of 2005, Kathryn had finished her freshman year at college. She was living in an apartment for the summer. She was learning how to cook for herself for the first time. Well, one day she decided to cook a hard-boiled egg by putting it in a mug of water in the microwave. She let the egg cook for a bit. Then she pulled the mug out, looked down at it, and that is when the egg exploded in her face, burning her skin and her eyes. It was a terrible injury. The pain was excruciating. Luckily, a classmate was available to call an ambulance. When it arrived, the EMT who cared for her during the 45-minute drive to the hospital helped to keep her calm.

KATHRYN FUMIE: I was extremely uncomfortable. Everything burnt. Everything just was on fire. And, you know, I kept asking him if he could do something, if I could have a cold pack. And I was just begging for a cure. And he calmly explained to me why he couldn't - because if you get skin too cold, it can actually kill it. So I had to just bear it until we got to the burn unit. And he had an amazing voice and just was so calm, and he made sure that I got passed off to the right people at the hospital. I ended up being in that burn unit all by myself for 4 1/2 days.

Somewhere around two months later, I went back to work. And I was a hostess at this brewery. And one day this guy walks up to the host stand, and he says, do you remember me? And I said, no, I'm sorry. I don't. And he said, well, why don't you close your eyes? And I'll talk for a little while, and then maybe you'll remember. And I closed my eyes, and it turned out that he was the EMT who was in the ambulance with me. And he said, I just really wanted to come check on you, 'cause, you know, he remembered where I said I worked. We sat down. We got to talk for a while. I don't remember his name. And I just wish so much that I could thank him again. So I want to thank you so much for caring so much about me. I felt so alone, and you did make me feel like it was going to be OK. And you made me feel so much less alone. And for that I am forever grateful.

KELLY: Kathryn Fumie of Bloomington, Minn. Her skin and her eyes have since completely healed. And she says that except to reheat things, she no longer uses the microwave. You can find more stories like this one on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast.

(SOUNDBITE OF IAN KELOSKY'S "DAWNING") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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