Who would have thought a day at the docks would end in an all-out brawl?
Videos of a massive fight that happened on Saturday, Aug. 5, at Montgomery Riverfront Park in Alabama have taken the internet by storm.
An unlikely hero? 16-year-old riverboat crewmember Aaren Rudolph swam to help the Black dockworker who’d been jumped.
In the now-viral footage, viewers see a Black employee telling white men on a pontoon to move, so the large Harriott II Riverboat could dock. The white men began assaulting the Black dockworker before others in the vicinity began to intervene in the dockworker’s defense.
Rudolph was one of the folks who came to the rescue. His strong swim stroke to the dock can be seen captured from different angles, as people on the boat cheer him on.
Since then, not only has social media coined the nickname “Aquamayne” but he’s also received ample amounts of both verbal and financial support from the public.
His CashApp circulated widely on social media on Monday, but potential donors reported that they were getting error messages, possibly because it had been maxed out.
As award-winning journalist Elsa M. commented, “His college fund is about to overflow! We keep this up, he’s going to have enough through his doctorate studies!”
Rudolph expressed his appreciation for the support from well-wishers. “Thank you, everyone, for supporting me and sending me notes and messages telling me I’ve done well,” he wrote on Instagram. “I was just helping my crew mate and I really don’t deserve this, but thank you again anyway and I am grateful I wish everyone the best.”
His post has received over 15,000 likes, with celebrities like Paris Jackson, and Grammy-nominated singer MAJOR penning their words of support.
“Massive love to you, King, “ MAJOR wrote under the post. “Praying for your continued protection & advancement. Blessed days ahead.”
The family’s publicist, Makina LaShea, also released an official statement from Rudolph’s parents thanking people for their show of support via electronic donations, and acknowledging his actions in the incident.
The parents clarified that the donations will make a “significant impact” on their son’s future, and the intention of opening their doors to more donations “is not to capitalize on nor exploit,” their minor son.
Following the incident, the Montgomery Police Department charged three men with assault and are looking to talk to the person seen in the video using a white chair to fend off people involved in the altercation.
“It’s something we take very seriously and deliberately with any matter that happens throughout our city regarding public safety,” Steven Reed, Mayor of Montgomery said in a conference. “ We are fully engaged and we are doing all our due diligence to find out exactly what took place.”
Meanwhile, Aquamayne can head into the next school year holding his head up high because he came to the aid of another Black man.
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