It is not often that common Saudis achieve celebrity status in the Kingdom. Yet Saudi firefighter Abdullah Badhan Al Subai became an instant hero in Saudi Arabia this week after a picture of him carrying a small boy wearing his breathing mask to safety went viral on the internet.
Gulf News reports that bloggers and online users heaped praise on the Saudi national and lauded his courage and his selfless act to save the child from a fire that gutted the apartment in front of their own flat in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. “We have just performed our duty and we thank God everybody is safe,” the firefighter said. “We heard there was a fire at a building in Al Rihab neighbourhood and we rushed to the area. As we were dealing with the blaze, we discovered that the heavy smoke made its way into the apartment across from the one where the fire erupted. I entered the flat and saw a child gasping for breath in a smoke-choked room and needed to be evacuated promptly,” he said, quoted by local news site Sabq on Tuesday.
Abdullah said that he took off his mask and gave it to the boy to help him breathe. This may have actually been in contravention to established procedures and some commented that by doing so he could have risked not only his own life but also that of the boy.
For most people however Abdullah is a hero who risked his life saving that of a young boy.