Green Room

Video: “Who runs toward a flaming truck that’s exploding?”

posted at 9:47 am on April 23, 2013 by

Heroes do, even though the Hechtman brothers of Skokie, Illinois reject the term. They saved a woman and a young girl from dying in a truck fire, risking their own lives to rescue them — even as cars kept passing by the fire without helping (video may take a few seconds to load):

Be sure to read it all, but I especially liked the conclusion to this Chicago Tribune story:

Ken Hechtman said he doesn’t consider himself a hero. Everything just happened so fast, he said.

“Everyone keeps talking about ‘Hero, hero, hero,’” he said. “Now that I think about it, it was stupid. Who runs toward a flaming truck that’s exploding?”

Heroes do … and thank God for each and every one of them, including the Hechtman brothers.

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I’m sorry, but I couldn’t hear their voices over the clanging of their giant stainless steel balls.

Good to know people like that are still out there.

JimLennon on April 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Notice they have FoxNews on the television. :) That tells you all you need to know.

ButterflyDragon on April 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Heroes that also have Foxnews on TV in the background!

You Should publish the address of the diner for people locally to visit.

Jim is right, good to know people like that are still out there.

neato on April 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM

They’ll probably be rewarded by a tax increase.

unclesmrgol on April 23, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Old white men. Typical.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 10:22 AM

God bless these courageous men.

In the words of Revelation 12:11, “They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” And as Jesus said, “Greater love has no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends.” Thankfully, neither of these men actually laid down their lives, but they were willing to do so and that’s the same in the end.

JoseQuinones on April 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM

You should publish the address of the diner for people locally to visit.

neato on April 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM

From the article in the Tribune:

The Hechtman brothers, both of Buffalo Grove, co-own Ken’s Diner in northwest suburban Skokie.

The diner specializes in Kosher food. I don’t know if HotAir policies allow the posting of addresses, but if anyone wants to Google Bing “Ken’s Diner Skokie”, you get the address and the website front and center. Get off the Edens at Dempster and head east about 2-1/2 or 3 miles. It’s just west of McCormick Blvd and the North Shore Channel.

Hope they didn’t get flooded out in the recent deluge.

JimLennon on April 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM

The guy’s ramblings doesn’t do his story justice. If you click on the links you see how dangerous this accident was. Huge fire; people on fire, including a little girl. But for these two guys, people would have died. God bless, them.

Blake on April 23, 2013 at 10:58 AM

A kosher diner? I thought Skokie was full of NAZIs? (I hate Illinois NAZIs!)

Seriously, these guys are to be commended. And they are definitely heroes.

GWB on April 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

NORMAL PEOPLE who know that someone is trapped inside that “burning, exploding vehicle” will run towards it.

listens2glenn on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I’ll never snicker about an old guy wearing those thread friendship bracelets again. These guys have balls.

RalphyBoy on April 23, 2013 at 1:09 PM

re:
listens2glenn on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

True, but many folks look at accidents out of curosity and would do NOTHING about helping anyone in jepoardy.
I trust the local Fire & Rescue organization will recognize their acts with formal thanks and a presentation ceremony of some sort.

“Move toward the sound of the guns.” – Maj.Gen. U.S. Grant (another man from Illinois who knew how to get things done)

Missilengr on April 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Wonderful story.
My husband ran into a blazing prairie fire to help a man not only save his home, but bcs my husband knew the man would never leave him home & would have died fighting the fire by himself.
No other fireman was there yet.
I still praise him for this. Bcs the man was so disoriented & scared he was also frozen to the spot.
My husband being there not only saved this man but his house, too.
Heroes do exist.

Badger40 on April 23, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Heroes don’t think, “I’m going to do something heroic.” They just do it. Bravo to the Hechtmans.

Mitoch55 on April 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM

And see, these men represent heroes.
Not sports figures or Hollywood actors.

Badger40 on April 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Real men do. Not Beta hipster dudes too busy staring at their phones. And props to alot of women out there who would do the same. Flyover country: Gotta love it.

teacherman on April 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM

NORMAL PEOPLE who know that someone is trapped inside that “burning, exploding vehicle” will run towards it.

listens2glenn on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

.
True, but many folks look at accidents out of curosity and would do NOTHING about helping anyone in jepoardy.
I trust the local Fire & Rescue organization will recognize their acts with formal thanks and a presentation ceremony of some sort.

“Move toward the sound of the guns.” – Maj.Gen. U.S. Grant (another man from Illinois who knew how to get things done)

Missilengr on April 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

.
That was my (lame?) attempt at saying too many Americans today don’t measure up to “normal”.

The brothers of course deserve any recognition they get from the local Fire & Rescue organization.

Worth noting, is that real heroes get embarrassed at being called “heroes”.

Every time.

listens2glenn on April 23, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I’m sorry, but I couldn’t hear their voices over the clanging of their giant stainless steel balls.

Exactly. :)

Bob's Kid on April 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Just….wow!

With all the bad news lately, I think this is a perfect candidate for promotion to the main page.

Heroes indeed!

questionmark on April 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

ButterflyDragon on April 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM

LOL! I noticed that too!

Notice the cameraman changed angles soon after. Ah well…

As for these two brothers, *salutes*

Yakko77 on April 23, 2013 at 6:05 PM

http://www.kensdiner.com/

Vote with your pocketbook people

It was pre-Passover 1976 when Ken Hechtman first found himself coming to 3353 W. Dempster Street in Skokie, Illinois. Kosher City was the first name attached to what is now the most popular Kosher-eating establishment in the world. This grocery, deli and sandwich store was the first of its type on the North Shore of Chicago. Ken did not have a fluent understanding of Kosher, but felt that it was by far an under developed industry for such a large Jewish market place.

Kosher City remained the only store of its type on the North Shore until 1982 when two much larger deli and groceries opened within one mile of each other. At this point, Ken needed to change his way of thinking and bring something to the North Shore that others would not so quickly imitate. His idea was based on a little deli in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin called the “Pop or Shop”. As a child, Ken use to frequent this shop and sit for hours playing music on the jukebox and downing French fries and milk shakes. It was some of the best times Ken can remember about his childhood.

At this time, Ken had this idea of giving the Jewish community something that they never had and might never have if he didn’t become proactive and take a huge chance. When Ken approached the Chicago Rabbinical Council with his idea of a 50’s diner and grill, they told him that they would approve such a venture. The CRC warned him that the Jewish community in Chicago probably wasn’t ready to accept this kind of establishment. Nevertheless, Ken went ahead and began building what would become an icon for kosher restaurants all over the world.

I think what our customers remember most about the Ken’s Diner era, was that it happened in bits and pieces. I had very little money back then and had to build the diner in sections. As shelving units from the grocery store came down, new red and white-checkered tiles went on the floor, landscaping the future of Ken’s Diner. As more money became available, four new tables were bought. Finally a new kitchen was built and the fifties music rang, while the first Burger Buddy made its magnificent debut.

By this point, Ken had been at this location ten years and worked seventy plus hours a week to keep the diner open. The rabbi’s had warned Ken that this would not be an overnight success story and they were right.

The big turning point for Ken and his business was in 1989. It was the thirteenth anniversary of Ken’s Diner at 3353 Dempster in Skokie. Some of the biggest Rabbis in Chicago found it appropriate to be seen both dining in and carrying out food from Ken’s Diner. This opened the door for all of the religious people standing on the sidelines wondering if they should be seen entering this Kosher but very radical food establishment. Ken has spent every day of his life since then looking back. Ken knows what it takes! It takes time, money and sacrifice of family to do what he did at Ken’s Diner. I still work hard every day and count my blessings for my wife and my family and the best customers in the world.

When Ken is asked what is the best part of the success of Ken’s Diner, his reply is always the same. When Ken opened in 1976 a lot of his customers were just kids, sixteen or eighteen years old. Twenty-eight years later those same customers are forty-six years old and he watched them grow up, their children and now their grandchildren. Ken said, “These are actually not customers, these are extensions of my life, friends that have watched me grow up, as I have watched them.” Ken and Ken’s Diner are a story of success both in his family life as well as business that was never planned or expected.

In the fifteen years since the 1989 explosion of Ken’s Diner, a lot has happened. Blessing number one, Ken is celebrating his 22nd anniversary with his wife, Michele, his inspiration through it all. Blessing number two, his brother, Daniel, became part of the Ken’s Diner revolution and will be celebrating his tenth year as a major force in the development of the future of Ken’s Diner. Blessing number three, Ken’s Diner celebrating its 29th anniversary in April of 2005.

Bugsy’s Charhouse was an addition to the west end of Ken’s Diner to fill two functions. One was to give the people in Chicago who kept Kosher a fine dining experience they would remember, by creating a roaring twenties steak and rib restaurant. Second, was to immortalize Ken and Dan’s grandparents, Ida and Paul Gleicher, by creating a room of memories that would encapsulate their life and remind us every day where their roots are.

PappyD61 on April 23, 2013 at 8:42 PM

http://www.kensdiner.com/

Vote with your Pocketbooks people.

PappyD61 on April 23, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Ah Skokie — the flower capital of the world!

I grew up in the burbs and we’d always park in Skokie and take the train into the city to go to Cubs games. Nice town.

Magson on April 24, 2013 at 6:39 AM

A kosher diner? I thought Skokie was full of NAZIs? (I hate Illinois NAZIs!)

GWB on April 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Skokie is heavily Jewish. I’ve never heard of any Nazi presence there. The sheer amount of Jews living there is why it’s jokingly called the flower capital of the world — there’s a Rosenbloom on every corner. ;-P

Magson on April 24, 2013 at 6:42 AM