On Wednesday (August 17), Fritz Sam was on the way to LaGuardia Airport in New York with a passenger when he saw smoke and flames coming out of a second-floor window of a brownstone in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood.
"I asked my passenger, 'Can I pull over?'" Sam told TODAY, recalling the incident. "'Maybe we can help.' So we got out of the car and ran over there."
Sam joined a group of bystanders yelling for people to get out of the burning residence.
When the driver asked if everyone had escaped the brownstone, a bystander said they thought there were more who remained in the building.
"At that moment, I was like, 'You have to decide, you know, what are you going to do?'" Sam said. "I don't know if it was words that was hearing in my head, or if it was a feeling, and I just knew what that feeling was in words. I just knew that something had to be done at that moment. So I just took my phone, ran inside and around the staircase."
Once inside, Sam said he found a man and woman and helped them exit the building before firefighters and police officers arrived.
Sam's passenger, Jemimah Wei, told NBC New York that after first responders arrived at the scene, she and the driver decided they could continue their ride to the airport knowing the people would be safe.
"We got into the Uber, and (Sam) was like, ‘Do I smell like smoke?'" Wei said. "I was like, 'Dude, seriously? It’s fine, you just saved a life.'"
The passenger tweeted about the experience and confirmed that she was still able to make it on time for her flight despite the pit stop.
Twitter users applauded Sam's heroic deed, and some questioned what Uber was doing to commend the driver.
"So, @Uber better be acknowledging this driver with something special, because I don't recall seeing "saved a life" as one of the default compliments post-ride," one user wrote.
The ride-share company said in a statement to TODAY, "We're incredibly grateful to have such a heroic and thoughtful member of our community in Fritz. He went above and beyond to keep his neighbors in New York safe — and still managed to get his rider to the airport on time."
Sam told TODAY that he had received a surprise call from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and hinted that his daughters love Teslas.
"I mean if they want to and are like, 'Hey, here's a free Tesla,' I'm still working!" he joked. "But all seriousness, I try to keep things in a way where it's like, you know, you did a good thing. You'd be surprised what little things we do that can be impactful. Because trust me, those little things are going to make a big difference for somebody."