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Following in Their Rescuer's Footsteps

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This is when someone bases their future career path on having been saved by someone in that same line of work.

From a narrative standpoint, the reason for this is because the person wants to give back for getting a second chance in living and wanting to help others like they themselves were helped.

If the person knows the people who rescued them, expect some level of Hero Worship and wanting to be just as good as their rescuers. There is potential for a Broken Pedestal if they learn a dark secret about their heroes.

While the most common jobs of this area are from civil service areas like cops, doctors, firefighters and even military personnel, fantastic jobs like superheroes or even a Hunter of Monsters can also be suitable.

Subtrope of Paying It Forward. Can overlap with The Real Heroes and The Paragon. Compare to Atonement Detective. See also Ascended Fanboy.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Shuuhei Hisagi was saved as a child by Kensei, a shinigami from the Ninth Division. After seeing his rescuer (and the "69" tattoo he sported), Shuuhei later endeavored to not only becoming a shinigami (taking the exam three times before finally succeeding) but join the same division as his savior, even sporting his own "69" tattoo. By the time he'd joined, however, Kensei had been exiled for circumstances beyond his control. After a later Time Skip, however, Shuuhei finally achieved his goal and served as Kensei's Lieutenant.
  • Inverted in The Case Files of Jeweler Richard. Seigi rescues Richard from a bunch of drunks, and then takes a job working for Richard.
  • Played with for Clare from Claymore. She was saved from a Yoma by Teresa and she does become a Claymore herself. However, it's because Teresa was killed by an Awakened Priscilla and Clare is mostly motivated by vengeance.
  • Kyu from Detective School Q wants to be a detective after he was rescued from being kidnapped when he was younger.
  • Played darkly in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. Giorno's path to becoming a Neighbourhood Friendly Gangster was set when, as a child, he lied to save the life of a gangster. In gratitude, the gangster started acting as an impromptu parent in place of his actual parents. This inspired Giorno's goal in life: taking over the Mafia and reworking it to protect the people.
  • Library War's premise has Kasahara being rescued from the Betterment Committee by an unknown agent of the Library Defense Force. She was so awestruck by the event, that it inspired her to become just like him and perhaps learn the identity of "her prince". Thus, she becomes the first woman to ever join their division.
  • Played With in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, where Subaru Nakajima is saved from a burning building by the title character and resolves to join the Administration Bureau's elite search-and-rescue team, falsely assuming that only one of their ranks could have pulled off such a Heroic Fire Rescue. Even when she later learns that Nanoha is actually a magical combat instructor who volunteered for rescue duties on that fateful day, she continues to pursue a career in disaster relief operations, anyway.
  • After being dragged out of the Thames by Billy the Kid in Moriarty the Patriot, Sherlock Holmes and William James Moriarty follow him to work for the US government.
  • No Longer Allowed in Another World: After Sensei saves Nir from a band of otherworlders, Nir decides to join his party as their amateur swordsman.
  • After being saved from drowning by a mysterious prince, Utena of Revolutionary Girl Utena attempts to pursue the "career" of prince, although she seems to be interpreting "prince" as "gentlemanly Knight in Shining Armor". Unfortunately for Utena, her original prince insists she Stay in the Kitchen.
  • The first chapter of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee has a Letter Bee named Gauche Suede protecting and delivering a young Lag Seeing as a letter. The next chapter starts the main plot, with an older Lag becoming a Bee and hoping to meet Gauche again.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, a young Kotetsu Kaburagi was a hostage in a bank robbery before being rescued by Mr. Legend. Not only that, Mr. Legend also helped Kotetsu realize that his powers weren't a burden and was instead a gift. This made Kotetsu decide to be a superhero just like Mr. Legend. Unfortunately, Kotetsu learns that Mr. Legend was staging his crime after losing his powers.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Batman and Robin once travel to an Alternate Universe where time is behind their universe, and it's the night Bruce's parents are murdered. Batman doesn't hesitate to save them, even though Robin wonders if this means Gotham will be without its greatest hero. Instead, this Bruce decides to grow up to be just like the mysterious hero that saved him and his parents one day.
  • Saga: A flashback in volume 8 shows that as children, badass "Freelancers" The Will and The Brand were saved from their Abusive Father (who was abusive in more than one way) by their uncle, who was a Freelancer. The two evidently were inspired to follow in their uncle's footsteps, with The Brand even copying her uncle's clothing style.
  • Downplayed with John Henry Irons of Steel. He was already a brilliant engineer before Superman saved his life. He then became a superhero in honor of Superman after his fatal battle against Doomsday.

  • A deleted opening for Zootopia would have shown Judy meeting a police officer who came to help with a cougar child stuck in a tree (who Judy got to come down safely). The police officer told Judy that she did a good job and gave her a police badge sticker (much like the one she would give to Finnick in the finished film). This would inspire Judy to become a cop when she grew up. The scene was removed and ultimately replaced with the school play scene.

    Film Live-Action 
  • In Pacific Rim, protagonist Mako Mori was rescued as a child by Jaeger pilot Stacker Pentecost. As an an adult, she too became a Jaeger pilot.

  • It's established in the Honorverse that many people have joined the Manticoran military after having been rescued by Manticoran forces. Specific examples include Paulo d'Arezzo ("born" a Mesan genetic slave, rescued by the Manticoran navy, joined the Navy as a result) and Tomas Ramirez (family fled the Peep invasion of San Martin, took asylum in Manticore, joined the Marines as a result).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sgt. Terence Jeffords from Brooklyn Nine-Nine wanted to be a superhero as a kid. When he tried to stand up to some bullies, he was saved by a police officer. He then decided to become a cop since they were the closest a person can get to being a superhero.
  • Chicago P.D.:
    • Detective Upton was inspired to become a police officer after her family's diner was robbed and a officer came to comfort them during the investigation. When she came to work for the Intelligence Unit, she found herself reunited with the officer who comforted her: Trudy Pratt.
    • Erin Lindsay is a police officer just like Hank Voight, who took her in when she was a teenager. Before that, Erin was stuck at the whim of her flighty, criminalistic, drug abusing mother.
  • Doctor Who: At the end of "The Fires of Pompeii", Quintus, the son of the family that the Doctor and Donna saved from Pompeii's destruction, has been inspired by his rescue to go to Ancient Roman medical school.
  • The Imperfects: Several of the characters have a rare genetic condition for which the only existing treatment was developed by a geneticist, Alex Sarkov. Abbi, one of the leads, is now studying genetics because she was inspired by Sarkov.
  • Emu Hojo from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid became a doctor because he was saved as kid by Doctor Kyotaro Hinata. It wasn't limited to just the physical healing, as Kyotaro also gave Emu emotional support after the surgery. It was that experience that made Emu want to not only heal the physical symptoms of his patients, but connect with them on an emotional level.
  • Person of Interest:
    • Zoe Morgan was inspired to become a fixer when a fixer helped get the press off her family's backs after her father's arrest.
    • Some of the people Team Machine helped out end up working for the Machine themselves. Sameen Shaw joined the team in the third season, and Joey Durban, Logan Pierce, and Harper Rose formed a second team in a different city.
  • Carter Grayson from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was saved as a child from a burning building by a fireman. As an adult, he became a firefighter, but then stepped it up by becoming a Power Ranger. Later on, it turns out the firefighter who rescued Carter was Captain William Mitchell, the commander of Lightspeed Rescue.
  • A variant of this occurs in Scrubs: After Dr. Cox finds out that his paramedic partner Denise's son died in an automobile accident, she tells him she became a paramedic after seeing how the EMTs were on the scene.
    Denise: But the paramedics were amazing. That's actually why I became one.
  • Both Data and Worf of Star Trek: The Next Generation; both were discovered among the remnants of attacks that otherwise killed everyone present, with Worf being the orphaned survivor of a Romulan attack who was adopted by the Starfleet non-com who found him, and an inert and disassembled Data being reactivated by a Starfleet crew after his home colony was destroyed by the Crystalline Entity. They both went on to join Starfleet themselves, and, serving together on the Enterprise, they see this as a point of commonality, which becomes one of the bases for their friendship. Tasha Yar has a similar backstory, crediting Starfleet with rescuing her from the Crapsack World she grew up on. She would also serve on the Enterprise and become friends with Data and Worf.
  • The Supernatural season 12 episode "Celebrating The Life of Asa Fox" focuses on the eponymous legendary hunter who was inspired to become a hunter after being saved as a small boy by Mary Winchester.
  • Street of S.W.A.T. (2017) is a police officer. He was inspired by Buck, who took him under his wing after arresting Street's mom.
  • Sen-chan aka Deka Green of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger was rescued by a police officer when he fell into a well as a kid. As an adult he became one too.
  • Soma Ryumon of Ultraman Decker became a TPU (and later a GUTS-Select) member in order to protect civilains as he was inspired by being saved in his childhood after getting separated from his parents by a TPU soldier from Metsu-Orochi and Hudram 10 years before during the events of Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga. Said TPU soldier would turn out to be his captain throughout the series: Murahoshi.

    Video Games 
  • This is how the Demon Hunters generally recruit in Diablo III. If they find a survivor of a demonic massacre during their travels, odds are they'll give the new recruit a choice of being "hunted or hunter". More often than not, the new recruit chooses to be a hunter.
  • Ghost Trick: Lynne decided to follow detective Jowd's example after he rescued her from a hostage situation When It All Began.
  • In Octopath Traveler, Alfyn was cured of a deadly illness by a traveling apothecary in his childhood. In the present day, he himself has become an apothecary after being inspired by the stranger who saved his life.
  • Soul Series: Kilik was rescued from near-death by Edge Master, and trained under him to keep his Superpowered Evil Side under control. By the time of Soulcalibur V, Kilik has followed in Edge Master's footsteps as a martial hermit trained in almost every style of combat. If put against each other in combat, Edge Master even comments that Kilik chose the same path as he did.
  • Ulala of Space Channel 5 decided to work for the eponymous channel after being rescued from dying in space by one of their reporters, when she was the Sole Survivor of a spaceship explosion. Ironically, said reporter, Jaguar, went rogue and became a pirate broadcaster after growing disillusioned with corruption at the station (or fired for asking too many questions, depending on which region's version of the game you consider canon).
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic has an interesting take on it. Juhani was enslaved to pay off her mother's debts, and was freed when Revan's forces stormed the place and freed the slaves. note  Juhani was instantly awestruck, and swore she would become a Jedi herself to pay Revan back for the kindness. What makes this interesting was that, at that point, Revan was considered a renegade, though hadn't yet fallen. This makes her determination to follow Jedi ideals, steer the Player Character to do the same, and pride at your Light Side actions all the more heartwarming as you are Revan, the one who freed her and set her on the Jedi path in the first place. Playing Light Sided proves you to be The Paragon she always saw in you.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright decides to become a defense attorney because his friend defended him during a class trial when nearly everyone else presumed him to be guilty.
  • This was Emiya Shirou's reason for becoming a Hero in Fate/stay night. Part of his core issue is that he has no idea of what kind of person his predecessor, father and rescuer, Kiritsugu, actually was, or the misery that the ideals he held led to. Shirou simply knows that Kiritsugu was happy when he saved Shirou, and that maybe by following in his footsteps Shirou can be happy as well.

  • Gil Marverde of Ava's Demon has a life ambition of becoming a Titan medic, because medic followers of Titan once saved his life.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Family Guy, Peter decides to pursue his dream of being a knight, citing an incident where he took acid at Quahog Renaissance Fayre and tried to leap off a building, and the Fayre's resident Black Knight saved his life. Peter later meets the knight again and tries to tell him what an inspiration he is, only to learn that the Knight is actually a Jerkass when he's out of character.
  • In Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, the trio of friends decide to become musketeers, after they are rescued by The Three Musketeers from the original work.
  • In Tangled: The Series, Cassandra was abused by Mother Gothel until she was four, when Mother Gothel kidnapped Princess Rapunzel and, chased by the Royal Guards, abandoned her. The Captain of the Guard decides to adopt her as his daughter, and years later, Cassandra's Goal in Life is to be like her father, become a Royal Guard and serve her Kingdom.