Mind The Gap!

An alert “06880” reader — who wishes to remain anonymous — writes:

It was around 8:30 last Monday night. Despite the many conspicuous warnings to “mind the gap” — which I always heed religiously — this one time the doors were closing. So I took a big step off the train without looking.

I went straight down into “the gap,” as the doors were closing and the train began to move. As I fell I somehow I managed to throw my lower arms into the platform (shattering my phone), leaving the rest of my body dangling in the crevice.

An instant later, a man picked me up under my arms and planted me on the platform. Had I not been petite and fit entirely into the gap; if I had gotten wedged instead, or if that hero had not reacted so quickly to scoop up a perfect stranger…I shudder to think. I surely could not have held on more than a second or two, and the train was picking up steam.

My life would have been forever changed — at a minimum — as well as the lives of my 3 children, my husband, my family and friends, if not for the hero who saved me.

Mind the Gap

I’m sharing this story first, of course, as a warning to my fellow train passengers to always be vigilant about the gap — every single time. One nanosecond of carelessness could mean the difference between life, horrible injury or death.

Second, I feel compelled to find the identity of the man who pulled me out of the gap. I think we were both in a bit of shock at the time of the incident.

While I thanked him several times before walking away (beyond grateful that I was actually walking away with only cuts and scrapes), I failed to ask him his name. He deserves a proper expression of gratitude from me, and to be recognized for the hero that he is.

I can’t stop thinking that if he had paused for just a moment to consider…before lunging to grab a total stranger by the armpits…but he didn’t. He may have saved my life, and I am eternally grateful to him.

If you know who the hero is, please email dwoog@optonline.net. I’ll put you in touch with the woman you rescued.

12 responses to “Mind The Gap!

  1. It’s horrifying that this fall could even happen. The cute britishism should be painted over with “Beware the Deathtrap” signs until that platform is engineered to a higher tolerance.

  2. Ann Marie Flynn

    I hope the fellow who did the rescue can be found! His quick thinking and judging what could have happened is awesome.
    Congratulations Mr. Hero……..you have made one family unbelievable happy and thankful for your being for ever…..that should also include the on-lookers who were there and all who are reading Dan’s blog.

  3. Hallie stebens

    That gap is terrible, when i
    was in 6th grade a classmates father slipped into the gap and lost both legs. Glad this stlory had a better ending

  4. Robert Lincoln:

    “The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.”

    • You’d think railroad platforms would be a bit safer 150 years later.

      Another little-known fact about Robert (the only one of Abraham Lincoln’s 4 sons to live to adulthood): He was at the White House when his father was shot, and was rushed to the bedside. He was there the next morning when President Lincoln died.

      Sixteen years later, at President James A. Garfield’s invitation, Robert Lincoln — the Secretary of War — was at the Sixth Street Train Station in Washington, where the President was shot by Charles J. Guiteau. Lincoln was an eyewitness to the event.

      Twenty years after that, in 1901 — at President William McKinley’s invitation — Lincoln was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, where the President was shot by Leon Czolgosz. He did not witness the shooting — but that was a close enough tie to 3 presidential assassinations that he later responded to another presidential invitation with, “No, I’m not going, and they’d better not ask me, because there is a certain fatality about presidential functions when I am present.”

  5. Beth Orlan Berkowitz

    Wow! So scary. Of course you were both in shock after that happened. I am thankful he was there to pick up this lady and didn’t hesitate to think about what to do. Whoever Mr. Hero is and wherever he is, he should know what a wonderful thing he did and that she and her family and friends are eternally grateful that he did such a wonderful act of anonymous random act of kindness. Karma is an amazing thing and even if this lady doesn’t find him, although I hope she does, he should be rewarded with wonderful things in his life!

    I don’t know either of these people, but I am thrilled and grateful that there was such a wonderful outcome! There is a lot of goodness in this world!

  6. Beth Orlan Berkowitz


  7. Thank God you are OK. Thank you, also and sharing that your story brought emphasis to the goodness of our people…another example that with any tragedy, a greater good comes to light, somehow.

  8. The old style trains were far worse…fifty years ago my fathers coworker fell and was killed… this is a great lesson and outcome. The kind Stranger doesnt need a fuss about it Im sure.. he did what we all would do and have done at times… its a wonderful story!

  9. Thanks for the weird Lincoln “coincidences.” I’m reminded of those odd similarities surrounding Lincoln/Kennedy/Johnson.

    Hope we find the hero! (Just last Thu, I remember looking down as I got off and thinking, “gee, this gap seems pretty large, larger than usual.”)

  10. Dan, even if the hero wants to remain. anonymous, will you please tell us all that they did get in touch. I’m hoping!