WASHINGTON, Penn. — Heroes: They’re the stuff of legends, both in history and the entertainment industry. It’s not every day you meet a real-life hero, someone who acts quickly to help others.
Kais Sorour, a 50-year-old independent contractor, is one of those heroes. On multiple occasions he has worked to save the lives of those around him. The most recent was just before the onset of the COVID-19 shutdowns two years ago.
On Jan. 29, 2020, Sorour watched as an accident unfolded on the roadway several ahead. A car, several vehicles ahead of him, rolled, landing upside down.
Sorour set to work, calling emergency services and approaching the scene on foot to assess the damage. The damaged car’s doors were locked, so Sorour tried to break a window to pull the occupant, a male, out of the vehicle. It wouldn’t budge.
“Then something tells me to go around and jump in another window or break the door, of all things, and jump in,” he told The Trucker.
Miraculously, it worked, and the man was alive. However, the smoke started billowing out of the vehicle, and Sorour says he knew fire was an imminent hazard. The man in the car signaled that he was OK, but he was stuck and couldn’t unbuckle his seat belt.
Sorour crawled into the upside-down vehicle and, as both he and the driver coughed and gasped for air, cut the seat belt so the driver could be removed from the vehicle, slowly and gently, without a scratch.
As another onlooker else handed the man a blanket, Sorour looked in the man’s eyes, which he describes as filled with fear, tears and thankfulness. Sorour recognized and empathized with that “life or death” look. Originally from Egypt, he served in the Special Forces and often administered first aid to injured servicemen and women.
The other driver refused Sorour’s offer to go to the hospital, saying he was “fine,” but the two embraced, both weeping.
“You really feel such a great feeling and you’re proud to save a life,” Sorour said.
Because of his bravery and quick actions, Pennsylvania State Sen. Camera Bartolotta presented Sorour with a citation.
“She is a great senator who encouraged me and asked me to be honored with a citation. The first time I heard of it, I thought she was giving me ticket,” Sorour said with a laugh.
Thankfully the citation didn’t come with a fine; instead, his name and achievements have been recorded in the history of Pennsylvania.
“Kais Sorour is being hailed as a modern-day hero for his quick reaction in the aftermath of a car accident,” read Bartolotta in the citation designation on July 27, 2021. “The Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania extends its commendations and appreciation to Kais Sorour for his outstanding response and successful avoidance of a potentially tragic situation, notes with pride the exemplary citizenship he has manifested in going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of others.”
The 2020 incident was not Sorour’s first brush with danger on the road.
The first time he rescued someone in need was in 2009, in Chicago. Sorour was operating a limousine business when he saw an accident in which one of the vehicles was knocked into a small ditch. Sorour says the driver, a woman, was conscious when he checked on her, but the car’s airbag had deployed and she said her head was hurt. He called emergency services and stayed with her until first responders arrived.
The woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment of head and neck injuries, but made a full recovery.
“Not everyone can risk their lives to save personal lives,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who the person in the car is, there are lives I have to save.”
In addition to the general public, there are lives back home for which Sorour is responsible. He originally came to the U.S. to work as a linguistics teacher. He later picked up classes for information technology (IT) and worked as a cellphone tower technician, then he operated a limousine service before becoming a truck driver.
Regardless of his career, Sorour’s goal remains the same: He hopes to earn the financial means to bring his wife and two children, ages 10 and 11, to the U.S. to live by his side.
In his free time, Sorour enjoys the martial arts and has earned a second-degree black belt in taekwondo.
Hannah Butler is a lover of interesting people, places, photos and the written word. Butler is a former community newspaper reporter and editor for Arkansas Tech University’s student newspaper. Butler is currently finishing up her undergraduate print journalism degree and hopes to pursue higher education. Her work has been featured in at least nine different publications.