The rescue, which was filmed and went viral on social media, echoes the heroic efforts of the Pakistani construction worker Farman Ali Khan, who died after saving the lives of 14 Saudis during Jeddah’s 2009 floods.
Balindong told Arab News that the trapped man was in his sixties and looked unable to leave the car. “There were many people around who tried to prevent me from swimming to reach the man. They were waiting for the Civil Defense to arrive,” he said.
Balindong added that the only thing he remembered at that moment was the Qur’anic instruction that says: “... and he who saved someone’s life, it will be as equally rewarding as if he had saved all mankind,” he said.
When he reached the man, he handed him a lifejacket and helped him to get out of the car and jump into the water. The two swam to the dry side of the road, where the Saudi man thanked Balindong and asked Allah to reward him.
“There was no time to think about death and I could not just watch a person dying or about to die. This does not mean I want to say I am a hero. It was a spontaneous response dictated by humanity, and I am so happy to have been able to save the man’s life,” he said. He said that he did not deserve to be awarded for what he had done.
The 39-year-old Filipino family driver, a father of seven children, has been working in Saudi Arabia for about seven years, six of which were in Jubail. He said he had received a number of calls from his family in the Philippines saying they were proud of the bravery he had shown.