Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Josh Romney's tweet showed a class act

By Ruben Navarrette, CNN Contributor
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ruben Navarrette: Some look for gloom even in feel-good stories, like that of Josh Romney's tweet
  • Romney tweeted picture of himself, saying he was first on scene of crash, helped victims
  • He was slammed online for "humblebragging"; Navarrette: Really? Helping a bad thing?
  • Navarrette: He sounds like a class act -- more than the haters deriding a good Samaritan

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter @rubennavarrette.

San Diego (CNN) -- Some people see a silver lining and go looking for a cloud. They just can't feel good about the world they live in, even when they're presented with a feel-good story. Instead of rejoicing in a positive development, they're critical and cynical and mean.

You'll find these folks in both political parties, and all across the ideological spectrum. This includes the left-leaning media and the liberal blogosphere, where they seem to have a tough time praising a Republican for doing something right.

And some on the right would probably say that about me. I've spent plenty of time in the last quarter century writing about things that Republicans do wrong.

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

But criticizing Republicans when they deserve it doesn't stop me from giving credit where it's due. So let's give credit to Josh Romney, the 38-year-old son of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, who, police have confirmed, helped four people -- a husband, wife, and two teenage sons -- after a car crash in Holladay, Utah.

It all happened on Thanksgiving night. After dinner with his parents and family, Romney was driving home with his wife and children when, he told reporters, he saw a car speed by him and crash into the kitchen of a home. He rushed to the scene of the crash.

He said that he helped the four passengers out of the wreckage of the car and, police confirmed, he walked them to the front lawn so they could get medical attention. An adult male was in the basement of the home at the time, and he wasn't injured. And the family wasn't seriously injured. That's good news.

Afterward, Romney went to Twitter -- the modern-day town square -- and tweeted about the experience. He included a photo of himself standing next to the wreckage. This being a photo, he was smiling. The tweet simply read:

"Was first on scene to big accident, see pic of car in the house. I lifted 4 people out to safety. All ok. Thankful. — Josh Romney (@joshromney)."

That's it. Not exactly a victory lap, is it?

Yet, for his trouble, the hero of this story got hammered by the left and other Twitter users. "Why are you smiling like a tourist at such a horrific scene?" wrote Twitter user Laila Yuile in reaction to Romney's tweet.

Others wrote that Romney's post constituted a classic "humblebrag," a kind of sneaky boast where someone uses 140 characters to show off without letting it show. We are told that some consider "humblebragging" to be an even worse breach of etiquette than plain ol' generic bragging because it tends to be served up with a side of fake modesty.

#Seriously? This is what we've come to? We now go hunting for bad behavior, even when someone does a good deed. Is this sort of thing a result of boredom or poor manners?

ABC News Blogs reported that the term "humblebrag" was coined in 2011 by American comedian Harris Wittels. It noted the blowback this way:

"Josh Romney, Mitt Romney's son, is drawing some flak after rescuing four people from a car crash on Thanksgiving. It wasn't the act itself that sparked the ire of so many on social media, but rather the tweet he posted in the aftermath of his self-acknowledged heroism."

United Press International reported this:

"Josh Romney says he helped rescue victims of a car crash in Utah, but now he's getting grief for talking about it on Twitter."

I admit that posing in front of wreckage from an auto accident is a little creepy. And, even in the age of Twitter, it should be possible to render aid to those who need it without feeling compelled to broadcast it all over the Internet.

And yet, it's hard to detect any amount of gloating either in the text of Romney's tweet, or in the statement he issued the day after the accident, part of which read:

"My family and I are grateful that no one was seriously injured and glad to have been able to help those affected by this terrible accident. What I did to help the people involved in the accident is what anyone else would do who witnessed such a potentially dangerous situation."

This young man sounds like a class act. Which is more than I can say for those petty souls who, in this case, went out of their way to cast a good Samaritan in a bad light.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ruben Navarrette.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say the Kansas Jewish Center killings are part of a string of lethal violence in the U.S. that outstrips al Qaeda-influenced attacks. Why don't we pay more attention?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says families of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 need legal counsel
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
David Frum says Russia is on a rampage of mischief while Western leaders and Western alliances charged with keeping the peace hem and haw
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
David Wheeler says as middle-class careers continue to disappear, we need a monthly cash payment to everyone
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Democrats need to show more political spine when it comes to the issue of taxes.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Donna Brazile recalls the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act as four presidents honored the heroes of the movement and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the law
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Elmer Smith remembers Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist from Philadelphia who was known as a thorn in the side of police and an advocate for the little guy
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Al Franken says Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, wants to acquire Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider. Should we be concerned?
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Philip Cook and Kristin Goss says the Pennsylvania stabbing attack, which caused grave injury -- but not death, carries a lesson on guns for policymakers
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
Wikipedia lists 105 football movies, but all too many of them are forgettable, writes Mike Downey
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
John Sutter and hundreds of iReporters set out to run marathons after the bombings -- and learned a lot about the culture of running
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says it was cowardly to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The university should have done its homework on her narrow views and not made the offer
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Al Awlaki
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the U.S, writes Peter Bergen
April 12, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
David Bianculli says Colbert is a smart, funny interviewer, but ditching his blowhard persona to take over the mainstream late-night role may cost him fans
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget places its trust in the people, not in Washington
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Aaron David Miller says Obama isn't to blame for Kerry's lack of progress in resolving Mideast talks
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
David Weinberger says beyond focusing on the horrors of the attack a year ago, it's worth remembering the lessons it taught about strength, the dangers of idle speculation and Boston's solidarity
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Katherine Newman says the motive for the school stabbing attack in Pennsylvania is not yet known, but research on such rampages turns up similarities in suspects and circumstances
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
Simon Tisdall: Has John Kerry's recent track record left Russia's wily leader ever more convinced of U.S. weakness?
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Mel Robbins says Nate Scimio deserves credit for acting bravely in a frightening attack and shouldn't be criticized for posting a selfie afterward
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Wendy Townsend says the Rattlesnake Roundup -- where thousands of pounds of snakes are killed and tormented -- is barbaric
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Dr. Mary Mulcahy says doctors who tell their patients the truth risk getting bad ratings from them
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says the married Rep. McAllister, caught on video making out with a staffer, won't get a pass from voters who elected him as a Christian conservative with family values
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
David Frum says the president has failed to react strongly to crises in Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, encouraging others to act out
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
Eric Liu says Paul Ryan gets it very wrong: The U.S.'s problem is not a culture of poverty, it is a culture of wealth that is destroying the American value linking work and reward
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Frida Ghitis writes: "We are still seeing the world mostly through men's eyes. We are still hearing it explained to us mostly by men."
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Chester Wisniewski says the Heartbleed bug shows how we're all tangled together, relying on each other for Internet security
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says an Ohio school that suspended a little kid for pointing his finger at another kid and pretending to shoot shows the growth in "zero tolerance" policies at school run amok
ADVERTISEMENT