Good Samaritans in Texas offer boats, water, food and even beer

A wrecker driver named Fernando took it upon himself to rescue dozens of people in Houston trapped in flooded homes because "it's the right thing to do," according to KRIV, the Houston Fox affiliate.

A man named Aaron arrived in his boat at a section where people were trapped and helped them out, giving them bottles of water he had brought along, the station also reported.

Richard Robinson, a 62-year-old worker for Southwest Airlines, felt fortunate not to have been adversely affected. But he felt compelled to come to the aid of others who had been hard hit.

"I was high and dry, and I saw that everybody else had a way worse situation than me," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I felt like I could contribute."

Robinson spent much of Monday riding around the deluged suburbs of Houston in a small, gray dinghy in search of people to aid after an overwhelmed police department put out a call for rescue help.

The very worst can bring out the very best in people, and Houston is demonstrating that as it struggles with the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey and the rain deluge that pounded the city and other parts of Texas.

Countless reports have poured in since the historic storm hit southeastern Texas late Friday night of a flotilla of boaters using everything from air boats to air mattresses to rescue stranded strangers from their flooded homes.

Houses of worship not inundated by flooding have opened their doors to people of all creeds fleeing the rising waters. Americans from as far away as Minnesota and California have made their way to the Lone Star state to lend a hand as the remnants of Harvey continue to dump rain on the region.

The owners of King’s BierHaus and King’s Biergarten were planning a fundraiser on Labor Day and say they are giving 100 percent of the proceeds to their employees and families who suffered losses because of Harvey.

On Monday, King’s BierHaus opened its doors from 6 to 8 p.m., inviting anyone who could make it in safety to have a beer on the house. The owners said it was planned as a chance for some respite and to talk to others who were reeling from the disaster and the rains that were expected to continue. On Wednesday, first responders are invited for a free meal.

“This is just a way to give back to the community for two hours tonight only,” said the business’ Facebook page.

"We have over 200 employees," said Hans Sitter, referring to both restaurants, to the Houston Press. "Many are completely flooded. They lost vehicles, got stranded. I have one employee that took four feet of water in his apartment."

"They can't buy a new car. If they don't have a car, they're losing their ability to get back to work,” he added. "This is not a time to take profits. This is a time for all of us to come together in the restaurant industry. This is going to be a very big time for us to work together.”

Among the numerous touching gestures to emerge from the disaster was a note that two children left for their father, an off-duty police officer from Waco who was heading to flood-ravaged area to help rescue people.

“Dear Daddy: I hope you don’t get hurt, but I hope you help other people that need it more than you do. I hope no one gets hurt more. I hope everyone gets away [from] the hurricane. I love you! Scott and MaKenna.”

One group that answered the call was the “Cajun Navy” – a ragtag group of boatmen from Louisiana who came to fame in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina by plucking stranded residents in New Orleans from their rooftops and homes. 

In one of the volunteer group’s most dramatic rescues this week, three Cajun Navy members rescued a 73-year-old woman who was floating face down in the flood waters and resuscitated her.

"The lady must have been crossing in some current. She floated right to the boat,” Joshua Lincoln, a Cajun Navy member told the Times-Picayune. “We jumped out and got her and gave her compressions right there in the water. We were holding her from behind."

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.