New York MTA worker’s quick thinking saves lives

Mike Krumboltz
The Upbeat

MTA worker Danny Hay (photo courtesy Danny Hay.
MTA worker Danny Hay (photo courtesy Danny Hay.

This past Sunday started out a day like any other for Danny Hay. At 7:30 in the morning, the 55-year-old MTA train operator was walking down the platform at the Delancey Street Station in Manhattan, getting ready to begin his shift and take the F train to Brooklyn.

Then something happened. "I heard a loud noise," Hay told Yahoo News. "I looked and I saw a man had fallen onto the tracks, between the rails. He was convulsing. He was having a seizure."

Hay went for his radio immediately. "I tried to contact our control center, but I wasn't able to do so at that time." Hay ran up to the station booth. "There was a station agent working," he said. "I told the lady to call the control center and have the power [to the train] turned off."

Hay then ran back down to the platform where he saw "not just the injured man on the tracks. There were two good Samaritans who had jumped down on the track to help the man."

That's when things got even more dramatic. "I could feel the air pushing through the tunnel and I could hear a train approaching. I could look down and see the light glowing, so I knew the power was still on," Hay said.

Hay started running "even faster down to the other end of the platform. I was gratefully able to get there in time, where I signaled with my flashlight to get the train to come to a complete stop." Hay said that MTA workers have a variety of signals that they use to alert each other when other forms of communication aren't an option.

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Hay then used the train operator's radio to call the control center. By this time, the good Samaritans were able to get the man onto the platform, but were still on the tracks themselves. "It's possible the train would have hit them," Hay said.

Hay never got a chance to speak to any of the people on the tracks. "I made eye contact with the injured man," Hay said. "But I never got to see the good Samaritans. They probably got on the train like I did and went to work."

Hay said these things happen more often than you might think. "A lot of heroic work goes unrecognized that is done by New York City transit workers." Hay's union has instructed its members to slow down when entering stations in an effort to save more lives.