A very, very big good Samaritan spotted a traffic crash on Interstate 75 Monday and stopped to help.
Former basketball star and current sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal, all 7-feet-1-inch of him, stopped to make sure everyone was OK and stayed until deputies arrived, said sheriff’s spokesman Art Forgey.
“The deputies had no idea he was going to be there but they both recognized him as soon as they got there,” Forgey said. “He happened to come upon the accident … so he stopped to see if any aid was needed. Once law enforcement arrived he got in his vehicle and left. He didn’t stand around for any accolades. He was just a good citizen.”
O’Neal shared a fist bump with a deputy and provided an experience for the people in the disabled car to tell their friends and family.
The dashcam from Deputy Patrick Purington shows him arriving to see O’Neal standing with a youngster a short distance behind the car.
As the child dashed to the family car, O’Neal fist bumped Purington and walked with him to the family to say goodbye.
Purington could be heard telling O’Neal he appreciated him stopping. A woman can be heard indicating the crash occurred when a tire blew.
Forgey said no one was injured in the mishap.
O’Neal, whose late stepfather was a career Army sergeant, is a supporter of law enforcement. He is an honorary deputy for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and in Clayton County, Georgia.
Also, O’Neal is a reserve officer for several police departments in Florida, including Doral, and in other states.
In 2016, O’Neal saw a video of Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White, who was called to a noise complaint about kids playing basketball in the street and ended up playing with them instead.
A few days later, the kids were surprised when police arrived with O’Neal to get in some hoops action.
White parlayed the incident into the Basketball Cop Foundation, which has provided basketball goals and other equipment to underserved areas.
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