Uber driver Fritz Sam is being hailed as a hero after her ran into a burning Brooklyn building and helped evacuate residents.
Sam had picked up a passenger and was heading to LaGuardia Airport when he saw the flames. “Five minutes into the ride, we’re passing this block and I noticed that there’s some activity going on in front of a brownstone,” Sam, 54, told the Washington Post. “I realized it was a fire.”
According to the Post, Sam then turned to his passenger, Jemimah James Wei, and asked, “Can we stop and help?”
“Obviously!” Wei, 29, told him, despite the fact she had a flight to catch. Wei said she was touched by Sam’s “strong moral compass.”
“When I thought that there might me someone inside that building, there was something in me that couldn’t hold back and I just had to go inside,” Sam told CBS2’s Thalia Perez.
“I get tunnel vision in those situations,” he added to CNBC Make It. “I don’t want to get hurt, but when people need help, I just want to do the right thing.”
According to CNBC, Sam said he spent about six minutes inside the building and guided two residents by hand out of the building. Firefighters arrived as he was helping the second tenant get outside.
At one point, someone tapped Sam on the shoulder and handed him his keys. He had parked in front of a fire hydrant; while he was assisting in the rescue, someone had moved his car down the block.
Uber released this statement saying, “We’re incredibly grateful to have such a heroic and thoughtful member of our community in Fritz. Today, he went above and beyond to keep his neighbors in New York safe — and still managed to get his rider to the airport on time.”
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged the heroic act, tweeting,
“‘I spoke to this Uber hero — he was thankful that someone helped move his car — all the while he was the one who ran into the building!”
Sam told CNBC that he hasn’t been compensated for his actions, nor does he expect to be.
“In the service industry, it’s our job to take care of passengers and people,” Sam said. “I think it’s just in my nature to want to do small things that can make a big difference.”
Authorities told CNN no one was injured in the fire and it’s currently under investigation. There are no reports as to whether Wei made her flight.