Jon Candelaria was well aware that diving into chest-deep freezing waters to save a drowning stranger during Hurricane Sandy meant risking his own life. But even that couldn’t stop this brave New Yorker.
While staring out the window of his Upper East Side apartment on Monday night, Candelaria, 25, was shocked to see a taxi SUV trying to make its way into the entrance of the flooded FDR Drive as Sandy's gusts were picking up, DNAinfo.com reports. Wearing just a North Face jacket, basketball shorts and sneakers, the father of one raced down the stairs and into the frigid floodwaters to rescue the taxi driver, according to CNN.
"It was so dangerous but it didn't even matter to me," he told ABC News. "All that mattered was, not even my own life, but just getting this guy out of the car and saving his life. That's all that mattered."
But by the time Candelaria reached the cab, the water had climbed up to the driver's chin and the raging winds were sealing the car door shut, according to CNN. So, the do-gooder counted the three and just then, the winds subsided for a moment and he was able to pull the driver out of the car and throw him over his back.
Candelaria didn’t get a chance to catch the driver’s name before he was whisked off to the hospital and told DNAinfo that he doesn’t consider himself a hero. Though he hopes to meet the driver he saved again.
"I'm not a hero. What was I supposed to do? Sit at home and watch a man drown and take pictures to post on Facebook?" Candelaria told the news outlet. "That's not me."