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'Today, your son is my son': A doctor's words offer comfort before surgery

Calvin Lowe and his son, Tyler.
Calvin Lowe
Calvin Lowe and his son, Tyler.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series, from the Hidden Brain team. It features stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.

In 2006, Calvin Lowe was facing his idea of a nightmare. His four-year-old son Tyler needed to have a serious dental surgery. On the day of the operation, he and his wife brought Tyler to Children's Hospital Colorado in Denver.

"As we sat in the waiting room, waiting for someone to usher us back to the surgery area, to say there was a lot of trepidation in our hearts was an understatement. And the way in which my wife was clinging to her son, it just made the gravity of the situation more and more heavy," Lowe remembered.

When a nurse called the family back, Lowe's fears only grew. A young doctor walked into the room and told Lowe and his wife that he would be performing the surgery. As the doctor began to explain how the surgery would proceed, Lowe's mind went to the worst possible outcome.

"I just couldn't help but feel like: 'What was I going to do if I lost my son?'" Lowe said.

But then the doctor did something unexpected. He looked both Lowe and his wife in the eye, put a hand on each of their shoulders, and said, "Today, your son is my son."

"I will never forget that," Lowe said. "Because that sent a calm through me, to know that someone would say something like that. It was very helpful and meaningful."

After the surgery was over, the doctor came back out to the family.

"He walked up to us and he had a big smile on his face and he said, 'Our son is just fine, and you can see him here in a few minutes,'" Lowe remembered.

Tyler is now 19 years old and hopes to become a professional photographer. All these years after his son's surgery, Lowe says he often still thinks about the young doctor's kindness.

"I can't tell you how grateful we both were for having him there and for what he said to us that day. I'll never forget that individual."

My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday. To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to

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Ryan Katz
Autumn Barnes