A Split Second Decision

NOTE: Chances are you’ve heard about this story before. It was all over the news when it happened. Still, it’s a good to hear it every once in a while— to remind us all that even in the midst of tragedy, there are signs of positive light in the world. 🙂

Wesley Autrey is a construction worker, a union man, a Navy veteran, and in the eyes of many, a hero.

The 50-year-old father was with his two young daughters, ages four and six, on a subway platform in Manhattan, when a young man nearby started having a seizure.

After 19-year-old Cameron Hollopeter fell, Autrey and two women rushed to help. Hollopeter managed to get up, but then stumbled off the edge of the platform onto the subway tracks below.

Just then, the unthinkable happened. A train rounded the corner, headed for the station.

Autrey barely had time to think. His experience as a construction worker gave him an idea of how much room he and Hollopeter might have if he could somehow lay on top of the convulsing man in the foot-deep trough between the tracks.

A split second later, he took a leap of faith. Literally.

Horrified onlookers watched as Autrey jumped from the platform onto Hollopeter and held him down between the tracks.

The train was unable to stop in time. It screeched to a halt only after several cars had passed over the two men.

Amazingly, the next sound they heard was Autrey’s voice. Saying he and Hollopeter were okay, and that he wanted someone to make sure his two daughters were all right.

When asked about it later, Autrey simply said, “It ain’t about being a hero, it was just being there and helping the next person. That’s all I did.”


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