American Airlines worker becomes unlikely hero

Earlier this week, a video emerged of an airport ground vehicle spinning wildly out of control at Chicago O’Hare airport.

Narrowly missing airport workers and missing the aircraft on stand by an even smaller distance, the video shows how an anonymous ground worker grabs another vehicle and rams the out of control vehicle on to its side and narrowly avoiding disaster.

It later emerged that the incident was caused by a crate of water falling on to the accelerator pedal of the vehicle, which caused it spin out of control.

Just a few hours after the incident, Envoy Air, who are a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, identified the ground worker as Jorge Manalang.

Jorge Manalang
Jorge Manalang

Ricky Deane, Envoy Vice President in Chicago commented:

“I’m incredibly proud of Jorge’s actions – he not only prevented severe damage to the aircraft, but more importantly, he prevented what could have been serious injury to his fellow ramp employees or our customers onboard. He demonstrated the ‘safety first’ focus that we have here at the hub – it’s the foundation of everything we do.”

Jorge Manalang himself commented:

“I was just doing my job. Safety is our number one priority and I did not want anyone to get hurt, so I used the pushback to stop the cart.”

The following day, American Airlines themselves recognised Jorge Manalang, by awarding him the Real American Hero award.

The Real American Hero Award was set up by American Airlines in 2016 to recognise their workers who go the extra mile during potentially life threatening situations. In 2019 alone, the airline had recognised over 100 employees with this award.

Although the cynical side of me says that the only reason we’ve heard the name Jorge Manalang is because the video of his actions was made so public.

Either way, well done sir!

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