Some people are placed in this world to make it a better place and actor Steve Buscemi is one of them. Believe it or not, Buscemi is nothing like his on screen characters, who tend to be villains and oddballs.
Way before he starred in iconic films and TV shows like Reservoir Dogs and The Sopranos, Buscemi was pursuing a completely different career path in his hometown of New York City.
At just 18-years-old, after having worked plenty of odd jobs (including driving an ice cream truck), Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test and became a firefighter. A young Buscemi served on "one of FDNY’s busiest, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy," according to a Facebook post by the Brotherhood of Fire.
Steve Buscemi: Hero Fireman pic.twitter.com/W758sAXh61— Rob'em Steve-Dave 🎃 (@askmerob) December 14, 2015
Buscemi spent four years battling blazes and saving lives before landing the lead role in Parting Glances (1986). The actor took a three-month leave of absence during filming, but his love of acting was far greater so he left the job. It would take nearly 20 years for Buscemi to put on his uniform and return to Engine 55.
Desperate to help after the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Buscemi donned his fireman's gear and worked alongside his old FDNY company to scour the rubbles for survivors.
According to the Facebook post written by Captain Jonathan Lusk of Fresno Fire, California, the actor worked twelve-hour shifts for several days and he made sure that no one would know about his heroic deed until over 10 years later.
"Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn't there for the publicity," wrote Lusk.
Steve Buscemi returned to being a Fireman after 9/11 working 12 hour shifts. He refused interviews or pictures. Legend! pic.twitter.com/QP83bofa— The Lake Poets (@TheLakePoets) September 28, 2011
In September 2013, it was revealed for the first time that Buscemi was part of the 9/11 rescue team. He later commented on his efforts saying that "it was a privilege to be able to do it."
"It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside," he added. "And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn’t really think about it as much, feel it as much."
As it turns out, 9/11 wasn't the only event that Buscemi lent a hand in.
"Also not very well known is that in 2012 Brother Buscemi showed up in Breezy Point, NY and quietly assisted in the clean-up efforts of the damage and mass destruction left by Super Storm Sandy," read the post.
The actor has also been a strong advocate for firefighters. He even got arrested in 2003 after giving "a speech at a union rally supporting higher wages for firefighters and to stop fire houses from closing."
"Once a brother, always a brother!" added Lusk. "Just so we're clear… this guy is a Badass!!! Tip of the helmet Brother Steve!"
What a wonderful human being! It's nice to be reminded that there are some selfless and courageous people like Buscemi despite the occurrence of horrifying events like 9/11.