One Villain...and Seventeen Heroes



The imaginary ones go by the names of Doctor Doom, Professor Moriarty, Darth Vader, Captain Hook, Wicked Witch of the West, Cruela de Vil and Voldemort.

There are plenty of real ones, too.

The politician who knowingly lies. The person in power who selfishly manipulates. The business that misleads. The individual who purposefully causes conflict and harm.


Three weeks ago, I had a rendezvous with a villain in Barcelona. He heisted my passport, credit cards and money. His action directed my life's activities for the next 72 hours as I figured out how to fix things.

Sometimes, it's easy to listen to the news or soak in our bad experiences and think that villains rule the world. And while villains unfortunately exist, there are way, w-a-y, WAY more heroes.

Let me share why I know this.

After meeting one villain in Spain, I immediately met seventeen heroes:

1. The woman who unhesitatingly let me use her cell phone after my incident so I could make two international calls to the U.S.

2. The person listening in on my story who thought I deserved something "kind," so she gave me her peanut butter sandwich and apple juice.

3. Armand...a guy who drove me 5+ miles to the nearest police station so I didn't have to walk and carry a 25-pound suitcase that no longer rolled.

4. Enid...who waited with me at the police station to make sure I found a translator to help me file a report and then gave me a train ticket with two pre-paid rides so I could get across Barcelona to the American Consulate.

5. The Chinese food restaurant owner who allowed me to sit in his restaurant for two hours using his wifi while I figured out how to solve my situation.

6. My two Airbnb hosts who volunteered to receive a PayPal money deposit from me, then walked to an ATM at midnight to withdraw Euros so I could pay for my emergency passport at 9:00 a.m. the next morning.

7. Six different extra-mile guides who walked with me through Spanish train stations and city streets over three days as I navigated my Amazing Race adventure from Barcelona to Madrid and then to Malaga.

8. The woman who turned around and walked with me for 30 minutes at 1:00 a.m. helping me look for Internet access...and then a hard-to-find street address.

9. The shuttle driver who gave me a 3-mile ride without charge when he saw me struggling with my luggage.

10. The two different people who offered to give me cash "You don't have to pay me back" when they heard my story. 


Count them.

Yes, villains absolutely exist. We read about them daily and may even run into one or two each week. But do not fret. The world is not going downhill.

When I look at my scorecard, there's 17 times more good than bad in the world.

And you know what?

That's amazing.

How lucky are we to live in a world of heroes?

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Shawn Anderson                                                 (310) 402-4826