Harman Singh witnessed a 5-year-old boy being hit by a car in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday. Without thinking, he quickly removed his Sikh turban and used it to stop the boy's head from bleeding.
"I wasn't thinking about the turban. I was thinking about the accident," Singh told the New Zealand Herald, "and I just thought, 'He needs something on his head because he's bleeding.' That's my job -- to help."
The boy suffered life-threatening injuries, but is now stable and recovering in a local hospital after having undergone surgery, the New Zealand Herald reports.
The 5-year-old was on his way to school with his older sister at the time of the accident.
"Being a Sikh myself, I know what type of respect the turban has. People just don't take it off -- people die over it," Gagan Dhillon, a witness to the accident who also happens to be Sikh, told the Herald. " ... he didn't care that his head was uncovered in public. He just wanted to help this little boy."
On Saturday Singh, 22, told the NZ Herald that he awoke to his social media profiles being flooded with people from all over the world praising his heroism.
"Total strangers are asking to be friends on Facebook and thousands of people have said 'Well done,'" Singh said. "I was only doing what I had to and trying to be a decent member of the community."
Singh is from India but is in Auckland studying business.
Under the Sikh religion, men are required to keep their heads covered by turbans while in public. Though it is rare to break this protocol, Singh said that his faith permits certain actions in emergency situations.
"I think anyone else would have done the same," Singh said.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.