A high school art teacher was grateful to be alive this morning after two strangers helped pull him and his wheelchair out of a van that caught on fire along the 91 freeway.
“I wish I could see them again,” said an emotional Said Abdelsayed, 52, as he was waiting for his son to pick him up after the flames destroyed his van.Abdelsayed’s Dodge Caravan was converted to accommodate his wheelchair.
Abdelsayed was on his way to work, driving east on the 91 freeway near Tustin Avenue shortly after 9 a.m. when he smelled smoke. He pulled over and opened the right side cargo door when the van started to burn.
He tried to get out of the van but he wasn’t in his wheelchair, which was stored between the driver and passenger seats.
That’s when the two strangers arrived and helped pull him out of the van.
“I saw two hands that grabbed me and took me out of the van,” Abdelsayed said. “I could be dead right now.”
The two men also salvaged some of his artwork from the van and then left.
Abdelsayed tried to give the men a painting, as a thank you. He called the men “Angels from heaven.”
Michelle Buessing, coordinator for Safe Schools with the Orange County Department of Education, works with Abdelsayed. “The bigger end of the whole thing…we just had to tell him he has to be laid off in June,” Buessing said. “He’s losing his job and now he lost his van.”
Abdelsayed teaches art to at-risk youth and travels to different alternative education sites in Orange County.
“Without his van and his wheelchair he feels disabled and trapped and that’s not him,” Buessing said.
For more information regarding this article please contact: