In a time where there seems to be such negativity and anger in America, it’s nice to take a step back and recognize that people are still kind and compassionate and willing to help those in need. Michael Venettozzi, a tow truck driver, was on his way to another tow job when he came across multiple cars stranded in floodwater. So he stopped to help.
Instead of looking the other way and continuing to his assigned destination, he decided to lend a hand. His employer, AAA, had him headed to the Riverside Center in North Utica, New York when he stumbled upon the cars.
With the water up to his knees and thighs, Venettozzi stripped down to his boxers and jumped into action. In one car, he found three scared occupants, and Venettozzi explained that they needed to get out of the car before the battery exploded. Moments after he helped get the occupants out of the car, “the airbags deployed in a loud bang,” he said.
With those three people safe, Venettozzi began working to get their car out of the rising water, according to NewYorkUpstate.com.
“When I arrived it looked like a raging river on the north side of the BJ’s parking lot,” Venettozzi told a local radio station. “I had to be almost completely submerged on my knees to hook up the car, so I decided to strip down to my boxers.”
He was successful in retrieving the car and proceeded on his way. His kind deed went viral on Facebook with many applauding him. The following day, Venettozzi took to Facebook himself to explained that he had been fired for helping those stranded drivers.
According to Big Frog, Venettozzi was fired by his boss who told him that his “poor decisions put his truck and equipment in extreme risk of being damaged.”
“I don’t regret helping people, I don’t regret the choice I made… a human life will always trump a piece of equipment to me!!” he wrote on Facebook. “Smdh whos hiring?”
Since going viral, Facebook users have given Vemettozzi the name, “Captain Underpants,” which was the name of a child’s book in the early 2000s.
Robert Griffith, a resident in the area, started a GoFundMe for the recently fired man. “Not only did he go above and beyond his call, he was a hero in many eyes,” Griffith wrote.
“He risked his safety, his equipment to save those who were and who became trapped. His former employer fired him for his actions and that just isn’t right. He’s a great guy, does a lot for the community and I can’t sit by and watch his wife and 2 children lose their home, vehicles because of only 1 household income now. Many don’t know but Michael also raises awareness for veteran suicide, his wife is a sheriffs deputy, they are great people and we as a community now need to help them in need.”