One afternoon Wesley Autrey and his two young daughters, ages four and six, were standing on a subway platform in New York City. Wesley was a construction worker on the second shift. He was taking his daughters home from school before he went to work.
A young man was standing nearby. He was Cameron Peters, a 20-year-old student. Suddenly Cameron began to shake all over and fell to the ground. He had epilepsy, and he was having a seizure. Wesley knew first aid, so he ran to help Cameron. He put pen between Cameron’s teeth so he wouldn’t bite his tongue. Then he waited for Cameron to stop shaking. When the seizure was over, Cameron stood up. “Are you all right?” Wesley asked him. “Yes, I’m fine,” Cameron answered.
Wesley was walking away when Cameron had another seizure. He fell to the ground again, but this time he fell off the subway platform and onto the tracks below. Wesley looked into the tunnel at the end of the station and saw two white lights. A train was coming. “Hold on to my daughters,” Wesley yelled to two women who were standing on the platform. Then he jumped down onto the tracks.
Wesley tried to lift Cameron and put him back on the platform, but he couldn’t. Cameron was heavier then he was, and the platform was four feet above the tracks. Wesley looked into the tunnel again. The two while lights were much closer now. The train was coming into the station.
Wesley looked down and saw that there was a space between the tracks about 22 inches deep. As a construction worker, Wesley often worked in small spaces. “I think we can both fit,” he decided. He pushed Cameron into the space between the tracks. Then he lay down on top of him. “Don’t move,” Wesley said, “or one of us is going to lose a leg.”
The driver of the train saw the two men on the tracks and put on the breaks. But he wasn’t able to stop the train in time. When
the first car of the train went over Wesley and Cameron, it moved Wesley’s hat a little. Wesley put his head down further, and four more cars went over them. When the train stopped, Wesley and Cameron were under the fifth car. Wesley could hear people on the platform screaming. “We’re okay down here,” he yelled, “but I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s okay.”
Paramedics arrived and helped Wesley and Cameron out from under the train. They were both fine.
Cameron remembers almost nothing about the experience. He doesn’t remember falling off the platform, and he doesn’t remember the train going over him and Wesley. He remembers waking up after the train stopped and seeing Wesley’s face. “Am I dead?” he asked Wesley. “Am I in heaven?”
“No, you’re not dead, and you’re not in heaven,” Wesley answered. “You are alive, and you’re under a subway train in New York City.”
“Who are you?” Cameron asked, and Wesley answered, “I’m someone who saved your life.”