Kurt Heersema, an automotive technician at Infiniti of Orland Park, said he was walking near Winston's deli in Tinley Park for his lunch when he saw the crowd gathered around the sewer grate and discussing the trapped birds, the Chicago Sun Times Media reported Thursday.
Heersema ran to his nearby workplace and returned with a pry bar, which he used to lift the sewer grate, and lowered himself down into the sewer to retrieve the ducklings.
Witnesses said the mother duck calmly watched the rescue and attempted to lead the saved ducklings across busy 159th Street. Witnesses stopped traffic to allow the waterfowl to cross.
"She was literally standing next to all the people," Heersema said. "She was very cool and calm."