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Keep track of the city’s most eligible bachelors: From single dads to firefighters to New York’s finest, they’re the ones who make a difference. Do you know an everyday hero? If so, write in! The next bachelor in the spotlight is up to you!
SAM COOPER’S STOMACH grumbled at the sight of the blue-and-yellow umbrellas shading his favorite hot dog stand from the blazing sun. Fresh from a boring press conference, where the mayor and police commissioner had announced the long-awaited wrap-up of a string of apartment burglaries on the Upper West Side, Coop had his digital recorder in one pocket and cash in another.
The aroma of New York’s finest hot dog had his mouth watering. “Hey, Dom. How’s business today?” he asked the owner.
“Can’t complain. Busy lunch crowd. Slow now but it’ll pick up again during the commute.” The older man, tanned from his days outside, lifted the metal lid, revealing Coop’s belated lunch. “The usual?”
Coop nodded. “The works. Actually make it two. I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
He glanced at his watch. Nearly 3:00 p.m. Enough time for him to eat and get his story in before heading home for the day.
While Dom placed his hot dogs in their buns and began loading them up, Coop glanced around his city. On a hot August day like this one, few people wandered around outside. The smart ones hightailed it out of town, heading for the ritzy Hamptons or the Jersey Shore. Others holed up inside, with their AC blasting.
Coop’s favorite hot dog stand was located on the corner of 47th Street and Park Avenue. A people watcher by nature—part of what led him to become a reporter, he supposed—Coop always studied the stores and buildings in the vicinity, and the people entering and exiting each.
As usual, the Vintage Jewelers caught his eye. Unlike most of the upscale stores in the area, it was rather ordinary. As if to compensate, the window changed often, rotating gaudy, elaborate pieces almost daily. Usually only women frequented the establishment—no big surprise—but today a man wearing a sweatshirt, hood over his head, stood inside.
“Strange,” Coop muttered. The heat from the sun had him sweating in his shirt and the steam coming off the sidewalk blistered the soles of his shoes.
“Dogs are ready,” Dom said, distracting Coop’s attention.
But not before Coop caught sight of what looked like a gun in the man’s hand. Coop’s adrenaline kicked in and he focused on the store. There were two females behind the counter. If he barged in, he risked the guy shooting someone.
Inside the store, the man turned to leave.
Coop glanced at Dom. “Don’t ask questions, just call 9-1-1,” he said as he grabbed the metal lid off the cart and swerved back to face the store.
As the man exited, Coop acted on instinct. He stuck his foot out, tripping the guy before he could run. The man staggered but regained his balance and straightened up. Coop drew a deep breath and bashed the man in the head with the aluminum hot dog cover. His hood must have cushioned the blow or else the guy had a thick skull because he struggled to stand up a second time. Coop swung harder and the guy fell to the sidewalk, moaning in pain. The jewels spilled from his pocket onto the ground.
Before the other man could recover, Coop grabbed the gun from inside his sweatshirt and waited for the cops to arrive. His heart still beat hard, roaring in his ears as the sirens alerted him to the arrival of the police and the cops quickly relieved him. While one cuffed the criminal and hauled him into their car, another took Coop’s statement.
As he replayed the events in his head, Coop was almost glad his torn rotator cuff had forced him to quit the police academy and he had a newfound respect for his father and older brother, both career policemen. Wouldn’t they get a laugh when they heard about his exploits. They’d rib him but good for trying to do their job.
“Hey, Mac, are you finished grilling me?” From his years working the crime beat, he was on a first-name basis with many of the detectives and cops.
The other man nodded. “We know where to find you. Go home and take it easy. You’ve had a rough day.”
Coop shook his head. “I’m fine. I’ll be at the office if you need me.” At the very least, he could make sure this story had the right spin.
He turned to leave when two women came running out of the jewelry store. “Wait,” the older one called. “I wanted to thank you!”
Coop strode toward the petite brunette who would have been no match for the robber, with or without his gun.
“I’m so grateful to you. Normally my father would be in the store with me, but he’s in Florida for the weekend. That man loaded up his sweatshirt with expensive items. You saved us a small fortune!”
Coop shifted from foot to foot, uncomfortable with her gratitude. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”
She shook her head. “Don’t be modest! Most people would have just walked away. I was in the store with my fifteen-year-old daughter, so I handed over the items because I didn’t want her to get hurt. You must come inside. I insist on giving you a reward for your heroic actions. I’ve already been to the bank, so I’m going to have to offer you jewelry instead.”
He shook his head once more. “No reward necessary.”
“Reward?” A female television reporter Sam recognized shoved a microphone between Sam and the shop owner’s daughter. “Go on! I’d love to get the exclusive on this for tonight’s five o’clock news!”
“You mean you’d mention our store by name?” The store owner’s eyes lit up at the idea.
The reporter nodded. “We can even shoot inside as you give your savior his reward.”
Coop groaned. He recognized the runaway train and fought to avoid the inevitable. “I can’t accept a reward. Like I told her, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
The reporter smoothed her hair, straightened her shoulders and motioned to her camera crew. “Roll tape,” she said, ignoring him.
“This is Carolina Martinez, reporting from the scene of a robbery in midtown Manhattan, with the reluctant hero, crime beat reporter Sam Cooper, and the grateful store owner who is just about to present him with a reward.” She glanced at her crew and said, “Cut!” before turning back to the stunned store owner. “It’s your show. What do you intend to give him?” Carolina asked.