What Kind Of A World Would It Be

…if we lived in the moment rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future?

…if we took time to help one another?

…if we didn’t live in fear?

…if we cared about people?

…if we smiled more?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this today, which is strange in itself because for the first time in a long time, I actually HAVE time to think. What started me thinking was this guy, Wesley Autrey, who jumped down into the subway tracks in the face of an oncoming train, to save a teenager who had fallen between the tracks while in the throes of a seizure. I saw him on the Letterman Show and was amazed, not only by the story, but also by Autrey’s humble, unassuming demeanor.

Illustration shows the small space under the train where Autrey held the teen down as it passed overhead
Illustration shows the small space under the train where Autrey held the teen down as it passed overhead

Autrey was standing on the subway platform with his two young daughters when the teen fell to the ground with his first seizure. He and two other women immediately came to the teen’s assistance. Autrey cleared his airway and he and one of the other women sat the teen up, bracing him against their knees. The teen recovered, stood up and walked away, seemingly OK. Then, without warning, he had a second seizure and fell into the tracks, landing between the rails. Seeing the headlight of an oncoming train and realizing that the teen’s limbs were flailing all over the tracks, Autrey made a split second decision and, turning the care of his daughters over to one of the women, jumped down into the subway well to help the victim.

Initially he tried to pull the man back onto the platform, but his weight was too much for Autry and the train was rapidly approaching. Instead, he lay on top of the teen, wrapping his arms and legs around him. But the kid kept struggling. “If I let him stay there by himself, he’s going to be dismembered,” the Navy veteran remembered thinking, so he tried to calm him down. Autrey explained to Letterman, “I got him locked down and I says to him ‘scuse me sir, I don’t know you, you don’t know me,” trying to explain to the teen what was happening. Five cars of the subway passed over Autrey and the teen before it screeched to a halt. Luckily, this particular subway line had a deeper well than some; the cars passed above them with about an inch of clearance, although Autrey did say his blue hat got dirty.

Autry ended his interview with Letterman with a poignant comment about the fact that there were over 75 people on that subway platform and only three people came to the aid of the teen. Autrey wants to know why people don’t care more, why they don’t help one another. “If you see someone at need, you should do the right thing,” he said. Right on, Mr. Autrey, right on. I’m with you all the way, and I’m gonna do my part from now on.

2 thoughts on “What Kind Of A World Would It Be”

  1. I am waiting and hoping with all my heart for a world of peace where people will care for each other as one big family. What he did took courage I can only hope that if I were in that situation that I would be as brave.


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