When Kelly Wong was a young boy and shopping with his mother in Hong Kong, he asked her for a toy.
She was a single mom, and money was tight. She reached into her pocket and showed her son the few coins she had. Wong could choose the toy, she said, or he could choose to eat.
He chose to eat.
Wong did eventually get a toy that he cherished for many years: a firetruck. So when he became a fireman for the Los Angeles Fire Department two years ago, graduating at the top of his recruit class, his mother was not surprised.
She told him he may even become chief some day. But Wong, who died during a training exercise this month, never got the chance.