EXCLUSIVE: Hero Pulls Three Drivers From Flood in His Underwear, Loses Job
Real heroes don't wear capes. Sometimes they don't even wear pants. Michael Venettozzi pulled three drivers out of flood waters in his underwear. The next day he lost his job.
Venettozzi was called to the Riverside Center in North Utica Saturday, August 17 after torrential storms flooded roads and parking lots. "When I arrived it looked like a raging river on the north side of the BJ's parking lot," he says. "I had to be almost completely submerged on my knees to hook up the car, so I decided to strip down to my boxers."
As Venettozzi was hooking up the car, another driver got stuck in the lot. "I got her out of the car before pulling the first vehicle to a dry place."
Once the first vehicle was on dry ground, Venettozzi says he told the driver to avoid getting back in it. "I warned her the battery and other things could explode and moments later the airbags deployed in a loud bang."
The drivers kept coming. As Venettozzi was hooking up the second car, a third vehicle became disabled. "I went back into the water to hook up and recover the 3rd vehicle too."
A day after pulling out not one but three vehicles, Venetozzi says he was let go from his job. "My boss said my poor decisions put his truck and equipment in extreme risk of being damaged. And he's right. But I don't regret helping people. I'll always value human life over a piece of equipment."
We've reached out to the company for a comment and are waiting to hear back.
Lynn Boucher was one of the grateful drivers Venettozzi pulled from the flooded parking lot. "You did a great job," she says. "You were kind and patient and went above and beyond. They should have given you an award. Other tow guys would have just walked away."
Venetozzi has heard every underwear joke imaginable in the last 48 hours but he'd rather be called Captain Underpants than a hero. "I just did what anyone would do," he said while choking back tears. "We have men and women overseas. They are the real heroes."
Anyone need a tow truck driver willing to do anything to help others, even if it means doing it in his underwear? Captain Underpants needs a job and you can reach him on Facebook.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Venetozzi to help with bills until he can find another job.