Heroism, New York style

Who says there aren't real heroes?

And who says they aren't in New York City?

From the New York Times:

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.

Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, his heart pounding, pressing him down
in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it
could not stop in time.

Five cars rolled overhead before the
train stopped, the cars passing inches from his head, smudging his blue
knit cap with grease. Mr. Autrey heard onlookers’ screams. “We’re O.K.
down here,” he yelled, “but I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them
know their father’s O.K.” He heard cries of wonder, and applause.


I don't think I could have done that.

But I know I've loooked into that subway well more than once and wondered if I could fit somewhere if I fell, and had 5 seconds to wedge myself in.

That man deserves a medal.


  1. boomr on 1/03/07 at 3:11 pm

    [this is good]

    Grew up with a ton of relatives who all lived on or off Parsons Boulevard just a few houses up from Kissena Park right there in Queens. And when we moved from Brooklyn to North Jersey many [many] moons ago, those same Great Uncles told us, well, mocked us actually, that we were moving to the stix. Understandably, back then, 'cause it kinda was.

    Anyway, I saw this hero story of yours on local news this morning up here in New England and then I saw your VOX headline quite accidentally after I posted my own story on something else. I hope Mayor Bloomberg makes a big deal out of what this guy did, because it is an outstanding human being and it's a real-life tale of heroism few could probably ever duplicate.

    I occasionally like to explore VOX to find the most articulate and humorous amongst us to make a new VOX neighbor. I find that doing so just adds that much more to our open discussions. Therefore and thusly, since you are a writer, [I enjoyed your post and review of The Holiday] and you're in New York, and Queens no less, how could I not make you a new VOX neighbor? 😉

    With that, I wish you a healthy and happy New Year and hope that you'll visit us regularly to contribute your comments and pov to what we're discussing on BoomerNation.

    P.S. – We also have another transplanted New Yorker who's one of my funniest VOX neighbors and who calls himself, LetsGoMets, now Los Angeles-based.


  2. R.G. Ryan on 1/04/07 at 9:22 am

    You know, I’ve been watching the coverage with interest, mainly due to the fact I am haunted with speculation as to what I would have done in that situation. I’ve heard it said before that heroes are not born…they are cornered. Never has this been so evident than in this story.