TAMPA, Fla. - It may be the biggest smile ever seen in the back seat of Tampa Police cruiser.
"I'm not sure if he was laughing at my driving, or if he was just excited at the circumstances," said Tampa Police officer Jason DeRocco.
The circumstances that put Robert Barbour and Arnette German in that cruiser were indeed exciting.
In the early hours of March 12, Robert Barbour got a call from Tampa General Hospital informing him the kidney he'd awaited 12 years for was ready for transplant. Driving up from Bradenton for a 6 a.m. appointment, the truck driven by Barbour had a blow out. Arnette German, his caretaker and friend in the passenger seat, called 911.
"We're not that far from Tampa General, but his tire became flat and I don't know how to change the tire," German told the 911 dispatcher.
The two drove on the flat tire for a few more blocks then realized they were lost. But DeRocco and fellow officer George Boyd kept looking and tracked them down near the county courthouse in Downtown Tampa.
Barbour made his appointment on time and got his kidney. The officers made good on their department's promise to protect and serve.
"I just saw how important it was for this gentleman to get to the hospital on time, and I just treated him like I would have treated any of my family members to get him there as quickly and safely as possible," Boyd said.
Both officers were commended by Chief Jane Castor, who pointed out that officers DeRocco and Boyd didn't even mention the incident. It only came to light when Barbour contacted Tampa police to find out how they could thank the officers.