Shaquille O'Neal Stops to Help Driver Stranded on Florida Interstate
“Deputy Shaq” strikes again!
It’s safe to say that one family’s luck went from bad to very, very good this week thanks to a helping hand from a larger-than-life celebrity.
Shaquille O'Neal was driving on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Florida, on Monday when he witnessed a motorist’s tire blow out on the busy highway. The NBA legend—who lives in the Orlando area—pulled over to the side of the road to offer assistance to the stranded family. O'Neal, 48, then stayed with the driver until authorities arrived on the scene.
In dashboard cam footage shared by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office on Facebook, the 7′ 1″ basketball great can be seen flagging down a squad car and then explaining the situation to the responding officer.
"I appreciate you stopping to help," one of the officers tells O'Neal.
"Stay safe," the athlete replied.
According to the police department, O’Neal fist-bumped both deputies before going on his way.
O’Neal is more than familiar with law enforcement. The former LSU player has served as an honorary deputy in Clayton County in Georgia since 2016, and was deputized by Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony in 2019. And this isn’t the first time "Deputy Shaq" has made headlines for assisting motorists in distress.
On Thanksgiving in 2018, O’Neal was on his way to hand out turkeys with the Broward Sheriff's Office when he witnessed a car accident. The star center, who also happens to have a PhD in education, comforted the children involved in the wreck while the deputies took control of the crash. According to the Miami Herald, O’Neal took the hands of two scared little boys and offered one a hug.
We don't know about you, but Shaq is definitely someone we want around when things get dicey!