An incredible video uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday shows three good Samaritans coming to the aid of a woman trapped in her car as it sank to the bottom of an Amsterdam canal.
The woman was reportedly unconscious at the time.
After seeing the car in distress, the three men, employees of a nearby business, jumped into the water and used a hammer to smash through the window, local Dutch news reported. The woman was pulled to safety mere seconds before her car was completely submerged.
See the full video below:
The woman was immediately taken to a local hospital. Dutch authorities are investigating the incident, but are still unsure as to how she ended up unconscious in the middle of the canal.
With the news cycle continuously consumed by stories of unrest and division, the video is a vivid reminder there is still good out there and small miracles still happen. This story could have ended in tragedy, with the men standing at the water's edge waiting for someone else to do something. The well-documented "bystander effect," where everyone waits for someone else to be the hero, has been used to explain a number of similar situations which did not end so well, like the Chinese passers-by who casually stepped over a child who was struck by a car and dying in 2011.
To combat our worst impulses, some states like Vermont have attempted to legally oblige Americans to follow their better instincts. The state's Good Samaritan Law requires citizens to "give reasonable assistance" to anyone "exposed to grave physical harm" unless the assistance has already been provided by others.
Waiting for someone else to be a hero is never a good excuse to not help those in need. As these three Dutch men show, the right thing is sometimes obvious, and their example is something everyone can learn from.