Every hero has his secrets. But one thing Samaritan makes no secret of is his commitment to caring for children. And for this Real Life Superhero living and working in New York City, that commitment begins with the dawn of every new day.
With a broadly drawn mission, encompassing work with the elderly, the environment, safety patrols, outreach and childhood literacy, Samaritan goes where he is needed most. “I’m looking to touch all bases, and maybe even create some no one has thought of.” And in his ready-for-anything tactical gear, he is doing just that. “For me, these acts of kindness are the province of heroes. Being a hero for me is a battle with my human nature—to put others ahead of myself. It’s a constant struggle that I know I haven’t quite mastered, but I know that when you stop trying, that’s when you lose sight of what you’re about,” he says candidly.
“I finished school early, and I had children early,” says this father of five, “and that basically changed my life forever. Having kids early gave me direction, focus, and drive. My family has always been a major force in my life. I don’t want to let myself down—and certainly not others.” And that desire takes many forms, starting with the basic notion of what it means to be a parent.
“A lot of guys my age are not as responsible as they could be,” he states. “They don’t take care of their kids, there are a lot of them out there that have no direction. I feel they don’t pass down what they were taught to their kids. Being a Superhero, for me, is a way to shine a light on those values for our children, and prepare them for the world they will inherit.”
Another one of Samaritan’s secrets isn’t so readily apparent, lurking literally, under his hat. “People have always told me how nice my hair is,” he says somewhat shyly, “and when someone very close to me passed away from cancer, I remembered how self-conscious she was when she lost hers. So I decided to grow my hair out and give it to Locks Of Love,” the national organization that provides prosthetic hairpieces to children living with long-term medical hair loss. “When I thought about a little girl going through this and getting teased at school or wherever, I just had to do something.” Even if it means doing something radical? “Coming from a big family, you develop a big heart,” he says simply.
Guided by his faith, Samaritan considers himself “a soldier for other people,” putting himself out there to help others before himself. Even when it might mean stretching some of his closely-held boundaries. “Someone gave me 3,000 condoms, and asked that I distribute them during National Condom Week. Being a strong family man, it was kind of difficult for me, but I saw the greater need.” And the ability to see that need and act upon it, is what truly sets Samaritan apart.
“There are many, many new Real Life Heroes coming into the community every day, and we want to be some fantasy from comics, carried out in life. But that’s our egos talking. We build this super id of what we want to embody, but we should look around and see what people actually need. Are there homeless on your streets? Drug problems in your parks? Infrastructure that needs fixing—we should all try to fill those first, rather than putting our egos ahead of our communities’ real needs. I want to see us reflect a little more on these Super personas we’re building, and see what they’re saying,” he states.
“A hero shouldn’t be aggressive or a show of gratuitous violence,” he continues. “Our personae should speak to our characters. It’s walking the path. We all have to work at it, especially me, and really cultivate a true heroic persona. Because when you make yourself better, you make the world around you better, too.” And that, is no secret at all.