Once in a while, a giant Negro turned out to be a genuine hero. The Associated Press wrote about one such man on February 19, 1952. The next day’s Washington Post headline read: “Giant Rips Open Jammed Cab, Frees Truckman.”
I’m presenting the full AP article here, because it builds to a classic Hollywood ending. (“Who was that giant Negro?”)
HOUSTON, Tex., Feb. 19 (AP). – A giant Negro walked out of the night on the highway about 10 miles northwest of here early today, saw a man trapped in the cab of his smouldering truck-trailer and ripped the cab apart to save the driver.
The unconscious driver fell free into the arms of waiting and astonished deputy sheriffs, and the Negro disappeared as quietly as he appeared.
“No one knows his name,” said Deputy Sheriff Don Henry, “but he did a job I couldn’t do with six trucks and a wrecker. It was a terrific display of human strength.”
The trapped truck driver was Roy Gaby, jr., 26, Houston.
Forced off the road by an apparently drunk driver, Gaby was trapped inside his telescoped truck. Flames appeared. A passing motorist notified the sheriff’s office. Officers, trucks and a wrecker congregated. But the men couldn’t budge the crushed metal with cables. A call went out for cutting torches.
The giant Negro appeared.
“Can I be of help?” he asked.
Then he walked up to the cab, placed his hands on the door and wrenched it off. He climbed into the cab, planted his feet on the floor and his neck and shoulders against the top.
“You could hear the metal give,” said Henry. “The top bowed out, the seat buckled down and the dash broke under the pressure.
“I saw his shirt sleeves rip open as his muscles bulged.”
In the excitement of the rescue no one thought to ask the Negro his name.
He walked off into the night.