On August 17, a Twitter post went viral after a female passenger described how her heroic Uber driver, Fritz Sam, ran into a burning building to save people trapped inside and still got her to the airport in time for her flight.
Jemimah James Wei wrote, “On the way to the airport this morning and drove by a burning building. My Uber driver LEAPT out of the car and INTO the building while the rest of us screamed at the top of our lungs for people to evacuate; the fire truck came, we rushed to the airport, and I made my flight. NEW YORK.”
on the way to the airport this morning and drove by a burning building, my Uber driver LEAPT out of the car and INTO the building while the rest of us screamed at the top of our lungs for people to evacuate, the fire truck came, we rushed to airport, I made my flight. NEW YORK. pic.twitter.com/YLglNDVUn7
— Jemimah James Wei / 魏信子 (@jemmawei) August 17, 2022
CNBC picked up the story and explored the incident further. Fritz was driving Jemimah to LaGuardia Airport in Queens. While on the way to the airport, the Uber driver passed through Brooklyn and saw people spilling out of an apartment building in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Flames were billowing from the windows, and he quickly jumped into action. After first asking his passenger for permission, he examined the situation.
“I get tunnel vision in those situations,” the 54-year-old man told the news outlet. “I don’t want to get hurt, but when people need help, I just want to do the right thing.”
Fritz was inside the burning building for almost ten minutes and personally led out two residents, one of whom he had to coax to leave. Reports indicate that he helped firefighters check on injured people outside.
“It was a matter of the right people being at the right place at the right time,” he said. “The passenger wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s just go.’ She cared, too.”
After his heroic act, Fritz and Jemimah returned to the car and made it to the airport on time, prompting her to make the viral Twitter post about her driver. The driver continued to be humble as people praised his actions.
“There’s nothing special about me. I think this is in everyone.”
He also said, “I hope I never have to do something like this again, but I can’t say I won’t. You’d be surprised what any given moment can bring out in you.”
The 54-year-old man explained that he wasn’t expecting any financial compensation for his actions that morning, “In the service industry, it’s our job to take care of passengers and people. I think it’s just in my nature to want to do small things that can make a big difference.”