Robert Barbour and Arnette German thanked officers Thursday at the Tampa Police Department for helping Barbour get to the hospital on time to receive a kidney transplant a few months ago.
Barbour and German, his sponsor, were driving from Bradenton to Tampa General Hospital around 5:30 a.m. on March 12th for Barbour's transplant operation. He needed to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. and didn't want to be late, as he had spent 12 years on the transplant list.
After exiting the interstate in Ybor City, they discovered they had a flat tire. Barbour feared that if he was not at the hospital on time, they would give his kidney to a backup patient, so Arnette called 911.
Dispatchers sent a two-man unit to see if they could assist Barbour. In the meantime, Barbour decided to keep driving on the tire's rim.
After searching for several minutes, officers Jason DeRocco and George Boyd found the pair near Tampa Police headquarters after seeing sparks from the rim of Barbour's Ford Explorer. The officers realized it would take longer to change the tire than to drive them to the hospital.
DeRocco and Boyd directed them to park their Explorer in front of police headquarters so they wouldn't be towed, and they were quickly taken to TGH in the police car with lights and sirens. They arrived at TGH on time for their appointment, and the officers escorted Barbour to the operating room area, where he received his new kidney.