Sometimes American political party lines can be drawn pretty tight and seemingly impossible to break down. But early this month, something happened to remind us that goodwill can cross any political barrier.

When Republican State Senator Alan Olsen from Salem, Oregon felt a strange pain in his chest during his lunch break, he didn’t want to call 911 for fear of a false alarm. Instead, he called his colleague, Democratic Sen. Alan Bates, who is a primary care doctor.

Bates arrived in Olsen’s office to find Olsen pale and in a cold sweat, lying on the couch. Bates called 911 and, by the time Olsen was safely hooked up to an EKG, it was clear he was having a heart attack. Bates recognized this and told the EMTs to take Olsen straight to the Cardiology unit.

Olsen was safely treated and stabilized at the Salem hospital and was able to return to work about a week later. Olsen credits Bates with saving his life.

Bates sees the humor in the situation: “Forever I’ll have to wear this around my neck, like an albatross…I saved a Republican.”

For his part, Olsen said: “It’s got nothing to do with politics. It’s got to do with people.”

Adrienne is a junior at George Fox University. She grew up writing stories and training in classical ballet, and now she studies English and hopes to use art and the written word to create positive change in her world.