Tennessee Titans rookie Jonathan Willard was hailed as a hero on Wednesday when he pulled a family and their dog from a burning car.
Willard was traveling from South Carolina to the Titans training camp in Nashville, Tennessee when he spotted the family on Interstate 40.
According to Willard, he saw black smoke coming out of the vehicle. He recalls to TigerNet.com, “I tried to speed up and get up next to the car to let them know the car was on fire.”
Willard pulled up to the vehicle and honked his horn to alert the family to his presence and the danger they were facing. The female drive was stuck in the car with her three children and the family dog. According to Willard, the vehicle was surrounded in flames.
The undrafted rookie explains the scene:
“When she pulled over, the car was really on fire at that point. The driver, she acted like she was in some kind of daze or something. She told me that she didn’t stop because she didn’t think it was her car that was on fire. Another guy stopped, and we managed to get the kids and the dog out and get them to safety, and then I finally got the woman out.”
Willard, without any concern for his own life, dove into the vehicle and handed an infant child to the mother. He then rushed back into the vehicle and pulled a second child from the car. Another man who also stopped rescued the third child and the family dog.
The two men then grabbed the mom’s purse and a few bags from the vehicle before the SUV exploded into flames.
Serving as the consoling superhero of the day, Jonathan Willard then waited with the family until firefighters arrived on the scene.
In the end, Willard has been very modest, telling reporters that he is just happy he stopped the female driver so the scene didn’t end tragically.
The men didn’t wait around for any sort of praise, leaving once officials were on the scene when they knew the female and her family were safe.
Here’s to hoping Jonathan Willard makes it onto the Titans roster; the NFL is in desperate need of more role models.