A reluctant hero rushed to the rescue after a mother duck got herself into a flap when her chicks became stuck in a storm drain.
Gary Bartoszewski, a salesman for Sofaworks at Danum Retail Park in Doncaster, came to her aid after hearing the distressed duck calling for her 10 fluffy babies, which had fallen into the drain through a grate.
Someone videoed the 47-year-old as he used a children’s fishing net to hook the ducklings out one by one and the video, posted on Ladsbible on Facebook, has received more than one million hits to date turning the sales worker into an overnight social media sensation.
Gary, of Wroxham Way in Cusworth, and who describes himself as an unlikely hero, said he even turned the fire brigade back via telephone, as he had already rescued the fluffy little bundles, as firefighters rushed to help.
He said: “The video has received hits from across the world. There have been likes from the USA, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere around the world. I can’t believe how much attention this is receiving. The messages have been full of praise for the way I dealt with the situation.”
He added: “I must also thank another worker from a nearby retail unit, Rob Stanley, 52, who also helped. We tried everything to get the grate off including trying to force it with a crowbar and tying a rope to the grate pulled by a forklift truck. The rope snapped. It was then that I came upon the idea to use the fishing net.
“The RSPB said they couldn’t get anyone out, the RSPCA said monitor this on an hourly basis and then they could probably get someone out, but that would have taken too long.
“All I was doing before the dramatic rescue was mop the floor at Sofaworks before going outside for some fresh air and that’s when the call came through, via mother duck, that her babies needed help.”
Gary said messages he had received on Facebook for his heroics were heartwarming and he had been ‘blow away’ by the attention his act of kindness had received and he further added: “People have said they didn’t expect a bloke with a goatee beard and bald head to be so sensitive. They also said it’s nice to see a nice animal story rather than one involving cruelty.”
After the rescue he said mother duck gave a quack of approval as if to say ‘thank you’ which warmed his heart.
Pippa Tetley, of Loscoe Grove in Goldthorpe, who took the video, said: “It’s such a great story. This is Gary all over. He is so modest he said anyone would do what he did. Of course, not everyone would. “I’m so glad I grabbed the video and it’s had so much attention. None of us can quite believe it. But it’s no more than Gary deserves.”