"I'm thankful you stayed with me the whole time I was at the accident and you brought me safely home to my family .. and I can't thank you enough" - Albert Bartholomew to Bernard O'Rourke
Bradenton, Florida - "It was not the car I was expecting to drive this weekend," says Albert Bartholomew, pointing at a red Toyota. That's how life can change in a second. The 25 year-old needed a rental Friday morning, after he totaled his car.
The Army Specialist was heading from his base in Georgia, home to Bradenton last night, when a back tire blew. "I had no reaction time or nothing. I heard it and at the same time I was hitting the guardrail," describes Bartholomew.
The airbag deployed and glass shattered, but no one seemed to care. Cars continued to speed past on I-4, until finally one man pulled over to see if Bartholomew was okay.
"He stopped to help out; there were no emergency vehicles there," says Bartholomew.
The man didn't just stop, he stayed - through the paramedics, through the highway patrol, through the tow truck and then, he drove Bartholomew all the way home to Bradenton. The trip was about two hours out of the man's way.
So the reaction of Albert's mom to this kindness, "It means everything," Dorothy Holmes says, "To know that somebody actually helps him out."
It turns out this Good Samaritan was a fellow soldier, an Army reservist based at MacDill Air Force Base. If Bernard O'Rourke wouldn't take gas money or a meal, he now gets this very public thank you.
"I'm thankful you stayed with me the whole time I was at the accident," Bartholomew says looking straight into the 10 News camera. "You brought me safely home to my family and I can't thank you enough."
Reached by phone, O'Rourke downplayed his actions, saying he just considered it an honor to help a fellow soldier.