TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) – Two Tampa police officers are being thanked this afternoon for their help in driving a local kidney transplant recipient to the hospital, who waited more than a decade for that medical operation to come, and had car trouble less than an hour from his appointment time.

Police say on March 12th, around 5:30 a.m., Robert Barbour Jr. and his sponsor Arnette were on their way from Bradenton to Tampa General Hospital for Robert's kidney transplant. 

After they got off the interstate in Ybor City, police say they discovered they had a flat tire. Arnette called 911, but they decided to keep driving on the tire's rim. 

Several minutes later, Officers Jason Derocco and George Boyd found them near Tampa Police headquarters. The officers realized it would take longer to change the tire than to drive them to the hospital so they told Robert and Arnette to park their car in front of police headquarters where they wouldn't be towed and were quickly taken to TGH in the police car with lights and sirens. They arrived on time for their 6 a.m. appointment and Mr. Barbour received his new kidney.

Robert spent 12 years on the transplant list.

Robert will thank police officially around noon Thursday.

Photo Credit 970 WFLA/S. Parker