Chicago, Illinois — 56-year-old Filipino American Jorge Manalang is Chicago’s new hero.
On September 30th, a catering cart at Chicago O’Hare International Airport was out of control after a water case slipped on its gas pedal, sending the cart spinning in reverse.
Manalang, a ramp instructor for Envoy Air — a subsidiary of American Airlines — says that his instinct, despite his leg injury, was to stop the cart in order to minimize the damage, and to save people who could have gotten hurt.
Manalang drove a push-back tug into the runaway cart, seconds before it hit the loaded aircraft.
The video went viral and the community has called him a “hero” since the incident.
“Napaka overwhelming na tinawag akong isang hero kasi hindi ko inaasahan na ganon ang mangyayari sa akin. Nakita ko na lang na may nagkakagulo, nagsisigawan … hanggang nakita ko umiikot ‘yung cart. Kaya napatakbo ako ng mabilis. Kahit na masakit legs ko, pinilit ko makatakbo sa pangyayari, iniisip ko kung iistop ko ba ang pangyayaring ito o pupunta ako sa equipment na tinatawag namin na “push back”
Reports say that Manalang’s presence of mind and bravery saved the company at least $5 million.
The aircraft next to the out-of-control cart holds 50 passengers.
No one was injured.
“Iniisip ko ang kaligtasan ng mga kasama ko sa trabaho at ‘yung buhay ng mga nakasakay sa eroplano.”
Although Manalang’s family is very proud of his heroic act, his wife Elissa says they were not surprised.
“Masayang masaya ako para sa kanya, nakatulong siya, na walang masaktan. Kahit hindi kilala, kapag may humingi ng tulong, talagang tutulong at tutulong. ‘Yan si Jorge.”
Manalang has received recognition not only from his employer but from the Chicago community as well.
Manalang says, he is visiting the Philippines end of this month for a much-deserved break.