Everyone loves Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
The guy isn’t just an all-around superstar — he’s an inspiration, too. That’s why so many people flock to his Instagram every time he shares a photo or video.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Pablo. He’s a star. He’s the monkey who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean with that John Depp fella. The other one is the big, brown, bald, tattooed silverback who stars in RAMPAGE. We’re comparing IQ’s. The monkey’s intellectually superior. As per yoosh. Lotta fun promoting RAMPAGE with my buddy here. He told he to f*ck off when I told him he needs a tic tac for his monkey breath. #LoveMeSomeAnimals #RAMPAGE APRIL 20th.
Johnson’s posts are usually fun and motivational, but one he shared March 6 was much more somber in tone. In a touchingly open video, he shared that his daughter, Jasmine, had a medical emergency the Saturday before and was taken to the hospital.
“Something happened to me and my family that I would never want to happen to any of you guys out there,” Johnson said right before letting viewers know that Jasmine spent all night in the emergency room.
Fortunately, his daughter was doing just fine shortly after, but Johnson knows that she may not have been without a lot of help.
He quickly shouted out the 911 operator who calmly walked him through what he needed to do next as well as the first responders from the Los Angeles Fire Department and the doctors and nurses at UCLA’s medical center.
“I just want to say thank you so much to everybody who was involved, so caring and compassionate and responsive,” Johnson said, the gratitude and relief palpable in his voice.
And his gratitude is sending another message, too: We should all be more aware of the amazing work first responders do and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
911 operators are the first line of defense when it comes to emergencies. Though these jobs can be rewarding, they can also carry a heavy emotional weight.
As the people who are supposed to help you stay calm during some of the hardest moments of your life, they’re required to provide support to callers while dispatching emergency services. Sometimes they don’t even have time for breaks.
One 911 dispatcher told Cosmopolitan in a 2017 interview about not even having time to pee:
“We did have a quiet room where we could go if things got too overwhelming, but truthfully, we didn’t really use it. Things got so crazy during the day that often times you couldn’t even get up to pee for eight hours. You can’t abandon your station just because you’re uncomfortable or you’re upset. You’re still a public service.”
Emergency service providers — those who are first to arrive on the scene — have an even more complex duty. They must not only assess the situation but decide on a course of action in situations that are often life or death. As Medstar paramedic Jason Hernandez told The Atlantic in 2016, “there’s not a whole lot of downtime.”
“There are challenges all over the place,” Hernandez added. “Everybody’s got a different thing going on. You have to worry about the dangers of a chaotic environment, from violent people to safety on the road.”
Emergency service workers are trained to work in high-stress environments, but that doesn’t mean they’re not at risk for developing stress-related disorder from their jobs.
In a study done at Northern Illinois University, 911 operators were found to suffer from traumatic stress as a result of their jobs, with some meeting criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Paramedics, police officers, and firemen were also more likely to develop PTSD as well as experience symptoms of depression and anxiety.
But progress is being made. Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced in early March 2018 that he’d sign a measure to expand workers’ compensation benefits for first responders “who suffer job-related post-traumatic stress disorder,” something that’s vital in the wake of events like the shootings at Pulse nightclub and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This expansion won’t just help those who are first on the scene financially, it could also help reduce some of the stigma of mental illness and encourage first responders to seek help when they need it.
But gratitude is also important. And Johnson’s video is a reminder that we can’t take the work emergency service providers do for granted. Especially when they save the lives of our loved ones — like little Jasmine here, who her mom says is “unstoppable.”