How Victor Perez saved abducted girl: four tales of everyday heroes

3. Wesley Autrey, the 'subway hero'

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    'Subway hero' Wesley Autrey poses photographs Jan. 1, 2008 in New York.
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Film student Cameron Hollopeter had a seizure on a New York subway platform on Jan. 2, 2007, falling onto the tracks as a train sped toward the station.

Assessing the situation in seconds, construction worker Wesley Autrey leaped to help Mr. Hollopter, press himself and Hollopter into the 21-inch space between the bottom of the train and the ditch between the rails.

The train passed harmlessly over them with less than an inch to spare as onlookers – including Mr. Autrey's 4- and 6-year-old daughters – watched. Autrey kept Hollopter calm for 20 minutes as officials worked to free them.

Then he went to work.

At a City Hall ceremony honoring Autrey, who had been dubbed the "subway hero," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "Wesley's astonishing bravery – saving a life in the face on an oncoming subway car – is an inspiration not just to New Yorkers, but the entire world. His courageous rescue of a complete stranger is a reminder of how we are surrounded by everyday heroes in New York City."

President Bush heralded Autrey's bravery in his 2007 State of the Union address.

Autrey said he was just in the right place at the right time, and offered this advice: “All New Yorkers! If you see somebody in distress, go for it!”

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