The epitome of heroism:
Who has ridden along New Yorkâ€™s 656 miles of subway lines and not wondered: â€œWhat if I fell to the tracks as a train came in? What would I do?â€
And who has not thought: â€œWhat if someone else fell? Would I jump to the rescue?â€
Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, faced both those questions in a flashing instant yesterday, and got his answers almost as quickly.
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. â€œI had to make a split decision,â€ 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 trainâ€™s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time.