Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our Town: Tustin, CA

Ryan Kimberly lives in Tustin, the California town I call home. He's 19 years old, lives with his grandparents, and some folks are calling him a hero, especially Davey and Lisa Miller. The Millers were out to dinner and their home caught fire. Ryan was driving by, saw the smoke, found the flames, and ... well, I'll let Frank Mickadeit, Orange County Register columnist, tell the story because it's his column -

Now here's the kind of problem I like to solve. Lisa Miller of North Tustin called me because a 19-year-old boy saved her house from going up in flames and she didn't know what do for him. Gee. I don't know, put him in your will?

O.K., I'll play. Lisa is married to Davey Miller, who I see most Fridays. So I call up our hero, Ryan Kimberly, and pretty much have to drag it out of him. It's as Lisa described it. He's a guy of few words or wants.

The Millers were having dinner at Javier's the Sunday night before last. Ryan, who lives with his grandparents, was driving home. As he passes the Miller house on La Loma Road, he sees flames shooting up out of the backyard.

He pulls over, hops the fence and sees the fire is coming from the pool heater. It has spread to an adjacent exterior wall of the house and is licking at the rain gutter. He looks around and finds the hose and … uh-oh … it's not attached to a spigot. … Where's the damn spigot! … Finally finds one, turns on the hose, puts out the fire, saves the house.

"We just don't know what to do for him," Lisa had told me. "He doesn't seem to want anything."

OK, kid, I tell Ryan. Here's your chance. I know Davey. Santa Ana High, Western Law, doing well. Good cigars and good guitars. What's your pleasure? I can get you just about anything. What are you driving?

"Altima," he says.

"What year?" I ask.


So he doesn't need a car.

"Into music? Play the guitar?"

"Not really. I wanted to once."

"Smoke cigars?"

"Do I do what?"

Guess not.

Look, give me something to work with here. What are you doing? In school?

He's in fashion college. Wants to be a clothing designer. Hmmm, I say, I don't know what to do with that. I called the Fire Authority. Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion (who confirmed the incident happened) told me they'll look into a commendation. Best I can do for now, Ryan. I'll get back to ya.
From time to time, we hear of these kinds of hero stories. The poor immigrant cabbie who finds a wallet full of loot and gives it back to the desperate owner, or the stranger who grabs the little kid before being hit by the bus, and they want no reward. I remember a kid a few years ago that did a good deed, didn't want anything, but was made a national spectacle with news stories and Oprah interview - it was ridiculous.

Ryan did a good thing and doesn't want a reward beyond the thanks he's already received. There are people who are bound and determined to give him what he doesn't want. More's the pity. Ryan was raised with the right attitude and that should be respected. Apparently the only thing he wants is to know he did the right thing and that should be respected, too.

Ryan, thank you. Our town is better because of you.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Ryan Kimberly said...

your blog was brought to my attention some time ago. I come and reread it every now and again. I just wanted to express how to you how much your kind words have moved me. Thank you for your acknowledgement. I am touched deeply by your blog.
Ryan Kimberly

Indigo Red said...

You're very welcome, Ryan. And thank you for the comment today. It's funny that you chose this day because I thought of what you did and what some brave people in the Aurora cinema did that saved the lives of others at a risk to their own. The two incidents may seem very different, but doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

I hope your life is going well and as unexciting as possible.

Indigo Red