Meet the Real Life Superman!

There are all types of superheroes that we see in television and read in comic books. Some can run faster, some can climb, but most of them has an ultimate goal to defeat super villains. The superhero that I’m talking about is a different kind, he jumped under a 370-ton train (equals to  740,000 lbs) and saved a man’s life. He’s a human being like you and me with no super power but perhaps a stronger will power.

His name is Wesley Autrey, a 51-year-old construction worker who lived in Harlem. It was a usual day for him when he and his two daughters (4-6 years old) waited for the no. 1 train at 137th street and Broadway.  Then, he saw a man fall down shaking uncontrollably likely from muscle spasms. Autrey and two other women rushed to help the man and was finally able get him up. But 20-year-old, Cameron Hollopeter eventually loses his balance and trips from the platform edge to the train tracks. He fell between the two rails.

As he was shaking and suffering from convulsion, he fell right into the gutter . Autrey moved forward to help when he suddenly saw the headlights of no. 1 train approaching the station. The train was coming at such a speed it was in no position to stop. He looks at his two little girls and looks back at the man. He had to make a quick decision whether to help the man or let him die. Meanwhile, the train master continues to honk the horn so he can move out-of-the-way. Autrey’s moral instincts told him to jump and that’s exactly what he did.

Autrey laid on top of him and covered the man with his body. He pressed down the man in a space almost a foot deep and did not let his arms or legs move. Autrey had a good intuition about confined spaces. He knew that the man could survive if his body was kept still. While they both remain quiet and motionless in the track, the train operator pulls the emergency brake, but could not stop until 5 cars rolled over them. The train cars passed few inches from Autrey’s head, so close that there was grease on his blue cap he was wearing.


Autrey heard screaming and weeping from the bystanders. He yelled to confirm that they were okay down there. Soon, the power was cut and workers helped them to get out of the tracks. Mr. Hollopeter was taken to St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital Center. Authorities stated that he had suffered from seizure and was in a stable condition.


Autrey became known as the Subway Superman for putting his life in stake for someone he had never met before. Only a superhero can perform such a selfless act. Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded him with Bronze Medal which is the city’s greatest award for extraordinary achievement. He received free subway rides for a whole year and his daughters got a paid trip to Disney World and their college education paid for future. Then he went off to meet Donald Trump where he received a $10,000 check from him. Autrey was honored by George Bush at the 2007 State of the Union Address where he praised his courage. He also received Superbowl tickets, cars and trip to Bahamas.


Mr. Autrey’s central message is, “If you see something, do something.” He said, I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help. I did what I felt was right.”





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