It was every subway rider’s nightmare, times two.
Who has ridden along New York’s 656 miles of subway lines and not wondered: “What if I fell to the tracks as a train came in? What would I do?”
And who has not thought: “What if someone else fell? Would I jump to the rescue?”
Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, faced both those questions in a flashing instant yesterday, and got his answers almost as quickly.
Mr. Autrey was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work.
Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help, he said. The man, Cameron Hollopeter, 20, managed to get up, but then stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails.
The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. “I had to make a split decision,” Mr. Autrey said.
So he made one, and leapt.
Read the whole thing. He doesn't feel he did anything special at all. I think the rest of us do.
UPDATE: A new story from the AP just came up. This guy is amazing.
NEW YORK – In hindsight, jumping in front of an oncoming subway train may not have been the smartest move Wesley Autrey has ever made.
"It's all hitting me now," Autrey said Wednesday, a day after he saved the life of a young man who had fallen down onto the tracks by pushing him into a gap between the rails. "I'm looking, and these trains are coming in now. … Wow, you did something pretty stupid."
No, sir, Mr. Autrey. You did something to save a man's life. That does not make you stupid. It makes you a hero. Even if you don't think it is anything particularly special, a lot of us do. So does the family of Cameron Hollopeter. Thank you.