Friday, January 5, 2007

The Heros of New Amsterdam

New York City, never a town to do things small, has kicked off the new year with a couple of pretty amazing acts of heroism.
On the first day back to work, subway commuters were given a pretty amazing display by 50 year old Wesley Autrey. Tuesday morning a 19 year-old college student named Cameron Hollepeter suffered what appeared to be an epileptic seizure, and fell off the platform right in front of an oncoming train. Without time to think, Autrey jumped down onto tracks, leaving his two young daughters on the platform.
Autrey decided he wouldn't have time to haul Hollepeter back up, so he pinned the young man down in a drainage ditch between the tracks and hoped that it would be deep enough. Apparently it was, by about two inches.
After the train came to a halt over top of the men, anxious spectators heard Autrey shouting that "There are two little girls up there, let them know their daddy is OK."

While Tuesday's rescue was underground, Thursday's drama started four stories above the sidewalk. Three-year-old Timothy Addo had somehow slipped past his sitter and gotten out onto a fire escape. Timothy had gotten trapped and was dangling above the street, with his grip loosening. His guardian angels came in the form of two passers-by named Julio Gonzalez and Pedro Neverez. The two men positioned themselves under the toddler and did their best to catch him. The 43 lbs Timothy (what are they feeding these kids?) bounced off Neverez and onto Gonzalez, knocking both to the ground. All three got off with only scrapes and bruises.

I'm sure that in the same week there were a thousand tragedies in New York City. I'm sure that there are many other stories to be told all across the region that affected more lives than these two. But I think, with all the examples that we see of people behaving badly, lying and taking advantage of each other, it's important to stop and acknowledge the ones who step up and help. All three of these men were just ordinary guys on their way to work, who saw someone who needed help and put themselves on the line to save a life.

That's called a good example, we could use a few more of those!

See you all on Monday.

Good Samaritan on the Subway

Passers-by Catch Tumbling Toddler

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