Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter

Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter


Back in New York, I am the head of development for a non-profit called Robin Hood. When I’m not fighting poverty, I’m fighting fires as the assistant captain of a volunteer fire company. Now in our town, where the volunteers supplement a highly skilled career staff, you have to get to the fire scene pretty early to get in on any action. I remember my first fire. I was the second volunteer on the scene, so there was a pretty good chance I was going to get in. But still it was a real footrace against the other volunteers to get to the captain in charge to find out what our assignments would be. When I found the captain, he was having a very engaging conversation with the homeowner, who was surely having one of the worst days of her life. Here it was, the middle of the night, she was standing outside in the pouring rain, under an umbrella, in her pajamas, barefoot, while her house was in flames. The other volunteer who had arrived just before me — let’s call him Lex Luther — (Laughter) got to the captain first and was asked to go inside and save the homeowner’s dog. The dog! I was stunned with jealousy. Here was some lawyer or money manager who, for the rest of his life, gets to tell people that he went into a burning building to save a living creature, just because he beat me by five seconds. Well, I was next. The captain waved me over. He said, “Bezos, I need you to go into the house. I need you to go upstairs, past the fire, and I need you to get this woman a pair of shoes.” (Laughter) I swear. So, not exactly what I was hoping for, but off I went — up the stairs, down the hall, past the ‘real’ firefighters, who were pretty much done putting out the fire at this point, into the master bedroom to get a pair of shoes. Now I know what you’re thinking, but I’m no hero. (Laughter) I carried my payload back downstairs where I met my nemesis and the precious dog by the front door. We took our treasures outside to the homeowner, where, not surprisingly, his received much more attention than did mine. A few weeks later, the department received a letter from the homeowner thanking us for the valiant effort displayed in saving her home. The act of kindness she noted above all others: someone had even gotten her a pair of shoes. (Laughter) In both my vocation at Robin Hood and my avocation as a volunteer firefighter, I am witness to acts of generosity and kindness on a monumental scale, but I’m also witness to acts of grace and courage on an individual basis. And you know what I’ve learned? They all matter. So as I look around this room at people who either have achieved, or are on their way to achieving, remarkable levels of success, I would offer this reminder: don’t wait. Don’t wait until you make your first million to make a difference in somebody’s life. If you have something to give, give it now. Serve food at a soup kitchen. Clean up a neighborhood park. Be a mentor. Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody’s life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one. So get in the game. Save the shoes. Thank you. (Applause) Bruno Giussani: Mark, Mark, come back. (Applause) Mark Bezos: Thank you.

100 thoughts on “Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter

  1. 1) A volunteer firefighter in Missouri who was responding to an emergency in his personal vehicle with lights and siren on, has been charged with reckless driving.

    2) Volunteer firefighter Matt Ousley was ticketed by the Holt Summit Police for reckless driving when responding to a fire call.

    3) A volunteer firefighter from Portage, Ohio has been sentenced to 9 months in prison for causing an accident in 2010 that killed a 24 year old man and seriously …

    4) ALAN WILSON ATIORNEY GENERAL The … been complaints that some volunteer firemen are driving their private vehicles in a … consequences of his reckless …

    5) S.D. Supreme Court hears case of volunteer firefighter speeding, crashing en route to call Five justices will determine if the firefighter was reckless for doing …

    6)  Reckless Firefighters … I see many volunteer firefighters driving like this around … The reckless firefighter today was responding to an accident in …

    7) Ralph Arnone, 52, of Hillside … was charged with breach of peace and reckless driving. … Southport volunteer firefighter suspended after arrest for impersonating cop

    I have been an ACCIDENT FREE driver for over forty years.  The  ONLY time I was almost killed was by a slack jaw,  volunteer clown who was;

    1) Speeding
    2) Passing at an intersection
    3) Traveling in the wrong lane

  2. James dalton: stop hating my father has been a volunteer for seven years he risked his life and expects no pay so wen your house catches on fire don't expect any help

  3. Even just sharing kind words is a way to help people every day. Hold the door open for someone, smile, say hello, good morning/afternoon/etc., listen to people. Those are just a few things you can do every day and brighten other's days as well as your own. It actually feels good to help people and be nice.

  4. This was really inspiring me, and worthy of watching, because he tells us real experience he had and never bluff anything.
    It was simple but powerful

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  6. I'm a career firefighter, about to leave my dream job after 15 years. You better believe I'm going to be a volley and save the shoes.

  7. 2BReality Would Like to see a a Book By the World's Richest Man, author: jeff bezos. 2017 would Be Nice.
    One by author: Mark Bezos would be nice too!

  8. I hate to say this but I have not been able to escape this perception. Most people think professional fire fighters are better than volunteers. They are not. They are not even more experienced. Don't ask them though. I have several really good friends that are professional. They are good. I admire them. But I have many friends who are volunteers that can put out a fire as well as anyone in the world. Fire fighting is fire fighting and being part time is not a detriment.

  9. Just a question here. Last night in my town there was a snowmobile on fire in a yard. The sled was about 15 feet from the house. The fire dept is about 1500 feet down the road from the fire. Across the street from the fire lived a volunteer ff for the town. He ran from his house to the yard and started to shovel snow on the fully involved sled. I asked if it would be better if he went and got a firetruck because the sled was so close to the house. He said no because it has a full tank of fuel. As he was throwing snow on the sled the flames grew and the fire was being pushed towards the gas tank on the sled. Now about 3 more volunteers came with their personal vehicles and started doing the same. The fire whistle was blowing off now for a good 6 or 7 minutes with now about half dozen ff's there. No firetucks yet just their own cars all shoveling snow on this fully involved sled. Keep in mind it was very very hot and the sled could have exploded at any time. Now about 9 minutes have past and a fire truck finally rolls up from down the street with two guys in it. I feel that if these said ff's that came to the fire in their own cars went to the firehouse first and got the right equipment I think it would have been less likely to catch the house on fire and even worse killed about a dozen people who all had to be 5 feet from the sled because they wanted the birds eye view. My question is, aren't volunteers supposed to respond to the station upon receiving the initial call? I can see them pulling up to the scene in their own cars after the trucks have gotten to the scene. I was also wondering if the trucks can roll out with only one or two guys? Its a small dept but fire is fire. I was thinking of joining this dept but after last night and seen how a house was almost lost and possibly lives because of some major major mistakes I feel I want to join in the next town. I am all for volunteers but the guys that got there last night and acted the way they did left a very bad taste in my mouth.

  10. I helped a family bury their dog. They will remember it. Shows humanity and is good for PR at the department. His name was "hercules" and a small terrier type dog.

  11. You just nailed it mate …. love you brother …. … I want to be in your time …. Goid bless you ….Be the one who runs into the flames , Not the other way around. Join your local

    fire department and help your community.

  12. This story confirms, that we can do small acts generosity, that make people happier!

  13. Appreciate Video clip! Forgive me for butting in, I am interested in your opinion. Have you considered – Rozardner Lucky Interview Reality (probably on Google)? It is an awesome one of a kind guide for firefighter interview tips minus the normal expense. Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my friend at last got astronomical results with it.

  14. I want to be a volunteer firefighter but can’t find a department near me that’s taking volunteers. I live near UT Dallas for reference…

  15. Great Video clip! Sorry for the intrusion, I would love your initial thoughts. Have you thought about – Rozardner Lucky Interview Reality (do a google search)? It is a smashing one of a kind product for firefighter interview tips without the headache. Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my best friend Jordan after a lifetime of fighting got astronomical success with it.

  16. I was recently fortunate enough to become a full-time firefighter. I switched over from being a police officer and I've got to say, this is by far more demanding physically and mentally (just in my opinion). Anyone that is willing to do this job for free and just for the love of the job has nothing but admiration and respect from me. You guys are awesome so don't let anyone bad mouth you.

  17. I saved TWO bearded dragons last year 😂 I’m pretty sure that will be the height of my career as a volunteer firefighter

  18. Ive been a volunteer fire fighter first medical responder and water rescue for 15 years . what he said but nah. Have u did search and rescue cause i did im reatired but im still there

  19. 何事にも行為に違いは無く、損得で自分がする行動を決めては駄目だ。指示待ち人間にならず、積極的に行動し、人に何か影響を与える機会は人命を救うことより多いからその機会を逃しては駄目だって事か。いいこと言うね!

  20. So… you were sent into the hot zone by yourself to fetch a pair of shoes.
    1. Firefighters engage in teams, never alone.
    2. Entering a fully involved structure to save a pair of shoes is an unacceptable risk for the reward. You could've been killed.
    Which leads me to the question: Was there gross negligence on behalf of your department, or is your story bullshit?

  21. Excellent Video! Sorry for the intrusion, I would love your initial thoughts. Have you thought about – Rozardner Lucky Interview Reality (erm, check it on google should be there)? It is a good one of a kind guide for firefighter interview tips without the headache. Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my old buddy Taylor after a lifetime of fighting got amazing success with it.

  22. Thanks for the Video! Excuse me for butting in, I would love your initial thoughts. Have you researched – Rozardner Lucky Interview Reality (probably on Google)? It is an awesome exclusive product for firefighter interview tips minus the normal expense. Ive heard some amazing things about it and my friend Sam after a lifetime of fighting got excellent results with it.

  23. Cheers for the video content! Forgive me for butting in, I would love your opinion. Have you ever tried – Rozardner Lucky Interview Reality (google it)? It is a great one off product for firefighter interview tips without the hard work. Ive heard some great things about it and my cooworker at very last got astronomical results with it.

  24. That humility tho. He just ran off the stage like. Nope. Not accepting no applause. Just doing my part. XD

  25. I became a Volunteer Firefighter 3 years ago. After 240 hours of Fire school at the age of 52, I’m engaged in one of the most satisfying endeavors of my life. The best part is driving the Fire truck. Every time I’m behind the wheel I feel like a kid again. It’s the best.

  26. I am a career firefighter and fire officer for a major metropolitan department. And this 4min speech sums up what I tell my guys what career has taught me.

  27. She didn’t even complain about the color or style not matching her outfit? I’m surprised! But I will say this, the best calls are those that never happen.

  28. I was a volunteer fireman for St.helens Oregon for seventeen years and I sure miss those days and how things have changed since I was a volunteer.

  29. Lol guy wears turnouts because virgin volunteers dont have Chad Career uniforms with badges and nameplate.

  30. Work 7 days a month, get paid to sleep and do chores in the firehouse. Sign me up. Paramedics and cops are on call nonstop and don’t get to sleep

  31. Volunteered or paid, big job or small task, they are some of bravest people out there and have done so much for others. Whether is saving people, their beloved pets or even property if possible (such as from major wildfires or adjacent homes) to helping people to recover afterwards. I know I can never be like them and do what they do due to my fear of fire since I was a little kid; but still admire them greatly and there are many other ways to help people, no matter how small it seems. Just donating old clothing that are still in good condition but no longer wear can be a big help.

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