What is a heroic act?

Rank the following actions from the one that you think is the MOST heroic to the one you think is the LEAST heroic. Be prepared to explain your reasons for ranking each action as you did.

  1. A woman is swimming in the ocean. Sharks are spotted near her, so her husband runs into the water to save her. Part of his leg is severed by sharks but he manages to pull his wife and himself to safety.
  2. A scientist makes a great discovery that will cure thousands of people with a heart disease.
  3. An accident leaves a gymnast paralyzed. For 5 years she spends 12 to 14 hours a day in therapy to try to regain the use of her legs. Her hard work results in a miraculous recovery, and she wins a gold medal in the Olympics.
  4. A man runs into a burning building that is about to collapse to rescue a child trapped inside. As he is running out with the child, a portion of the building falls, killing them both.
  5. When a boat capsizes in a storm, four people are clinging to a small raft that will hold only three. An old man with a fatal disease knows he will die in a few months, so he gives up the raft for the others. He drowns in the waves.
  6. A schoolteacher, invited to be part of the seven-person crew of the Space Shuttle, dies as the rocket explodes shortly after takeoff.
  7. A bystander helps a woman who is drowning in the river after a plane crash. The water is very cold, and only a few minutes of exposure could result in death. He is able to save the woman but freezes and drowns in the process.
  8. An 11-year old boy who sees 2 men sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl, threatening to stab her if she resists, rides off on his bicycle and gets the police. The officers arrive too late to prevent the rape, but the boy's actions probably prevent her from being killed.
  9. A lifeguard rescues a 6-year old from drowning in a public pool by dragging him out with a hook.
  10. A man finds that the company he works for has been cheating customers. He reports his finding on a television news program. Shortly thereafter he is fired from his job.