Amanda Ripley

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Hero on the C Train

20th Mar 2009 posted in Disaster Behavior

Nice piece by Michael Wilson in the NY Times about Chad Lindsey, the latest (and possibly most self-aware) subway hero. He was waiting for a train when he saw an older man fall into the tracks. Lindsey, an actor from Harbor Springs, Mich., threw down his bag and jumped onto the tracks after him. As he struggled to get the man—now unconscious—back up to the platform, he saw lights approaching in the tunnel. Notice how his mind sorts through his database of options:

“‘I yelled, ‘Contact the station agent and call the police!’ which I think is hilarious because I don’t think I ever said ‘station agent’ before in my life. What am I, on ‘24’?”...[Then] he remembered the subway hero of 2007, Wesley Autrey, who jumped on top of a man who was having a seizure on the tracks and held him down in the shallow trench between the rails as the subway passed over them. “I was like, ‘I am not doing that. We’ve got to get out of here.’”

Other passengers helped pull the man out, and Lindsey jumped back onto the platform—about 10 or 15 seconds before the train arrived. The police arrived, and what did Lindsey do? Well, he got on a train and continued on his way. Seems bizarre. But then again, that’s what people do. They follow patterns. They get their overhead baggage before they escape a burning airplane. They twitter while awaiting emergency treatment. Only once he was on the train did Lindsey start to “freak out.” He began shaking as the stress hormones worked their way through his body—and his brain allowed him to begin processing what had happened.

Sounds like Lindsey and the man he rescued are both doing fine.

Note to casting agents: Lindsey’s on-air reel below.