(NEW YORK) -- Navy Officer Andrew Lauda, on leave from patroling for pirates off the Somali coast, sent out an SOS Monday when he and his young family became trapped on a blizzard-bound New York highway for more than eight hours.
Lauda had been home from his deployment with the Navy in Africa for just four days when he got stuck with his wife Kristen and their three-month-old son on their way to grandma's house.
"We left our house in Norfolk, Va., at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. We got stuck on the Long Island Expressway at about 1 a.m.," said Lauda. "So that's about 18 hours." "We just got stuck in the snow, we couldn't move," said Lauda, 21.
The Navy officer, who first met his son when he returned home on Dec. 3, rationed the family's meager food until they were down to crackers. He then called ABC News' affiliate WABC to tell the station they were trapped and needed help.
WABC aired Lauda's interview and it was heard by Carlos Calderon in nearby Queens, N.Y.
"I was watching the news and heard [Lauda's] story about being stranded and I told my wife, 'You know what, I'm going to try to help them," said Calderon, a Manhattan building manager.
Calderon said it was Lauda's mention of his young son that really motivated him to go help.
"That baby, it got me," he said.
By the time Calderon reached Lauda and his family, they had sought shelter in a nearby bus that was also stuck and still had enough gas to run the heat.
Lauda said he used his Navy training to help his family make it through the experience, which he admitted was "tough," especially with an infant.
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