A Thank You Note to Matt


Abby Scutch, Editor in Chief

Dear Matt,

At noon on June 17, 2016, you became my hero.  Perhaps you remember me?  I was wearing a red rain jacket with two dutch braids in my hair and you were less than a quarter mile hiking behind me on possibly one of the world’s most beautiful hiking trails – Alum Cave in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Life was perfect for a sweet, simplistic moment. I felt so accomplished because of all the hiking I had done that week and I reminisced the memories I shared with my friends.  I was exchanging laughs with those around me, but in a blink of an eye everything changed.

I tripped on a rock and fell to my knees.  It all happened so fast.  One second I was having the time of my life, and then the next, I was on the ground about to face a heartbreaking hardship.  I remember feeling a dull, irking pain below my ankle in my left foot.  I had torn a ligament, and there was absolutely no way I was going to finish descending the mountain with both feet.

With my group crowded around me looking at my foot, I remember looking to the right and making direct eye contact with you.  You rushed over and offered your help.  You referred to yourself as an EMT, first responder, and medical doctor.  You got on your knees, greeted me by shaking my hand, and said your name was Matt.

You examined my foot and began creating a homemade foot wrap with athletic tape and other supplies from an emergency first-aid kit.

I am writing this to thank you.  You could have walked on by.  You could have kept going.  You could have figured that being on vacation would qualify you as “off duty.”  You could have said “good luck” and continued your hike down the mountain, but you didn’t.

I have spent endless hours Googling “Matt EMT,” “Matt first responder,” or “Matt medical doctor.”  What have I found? Nothing more than other people named Matt who are EMTs, first responders, or medical doctors, but never you.  I cannot seem to find you anywhere.

So here I am hopelessly putting this letter out on the big world wide web holding a sliver of hope that maybe you will see this.  If only this note popped up in your Facebook feed or maybe someone reading it would recognize you as the Matt I’m looking for.

The doctors say that the wrap you put my foot in saved it from collapsing more than it did.  I could have had far worse problems if it weren’t for your skillfully applied wrap.  They said I was lucky to have someone like you to help me.

With that said, thank you for being a kind soul in a world of indifference.  Thank you for spending 20 minutes with me telling me that I was going to be okay.  Thank you for continuing to do your job even though you knew you didn’t have to.

Sometimes, I wonder if you were even real.  Maybe you were an angel that was sent to me right when I needed one the most, or perhaps you crossing my path was more than a coincidence but an example of God’s perfect timing.  I do not know and I may never know.

At the end of the day, I am forever grateful for you.  My perspective on life has changed because of you.  You moved a part of my soul that made me look at the world and others differently.  Every time I help someone else, I think of you.  I strive to help people the same way you helped me.

So Matt, wherever you may be in the world amongst the other seven billion people, my only hope is to thank you, but I don’t know how.  Maybe if I travel back down South and climb to the spot where I fell, I will find you.  Maybe if I search the internet for a few more hours, I will stumble upon your email address, or maybe if I write a letter to every medical program in the world asking to speak to the man who helped a girl in the Smoky Mountains, I will finally have the chance to tell you all this.

I ask God everyday to look after you and help you understand how much of a significant person you are in my life and how those 20 minutes with you in the mountains changed me.

Thank you for doing a simple act of kindness that helped me.  I hope to thank you in person one day.

You will never be forgotten.

Love always,