When John O’Connor reported to work on Sunday, he surely had no idea that he’d end his switch a hero.
O’Connor, a transportation foreman for the Northern California Bay Area Rapid Transit( BART ), was trying to keep passengers at bay at the Oakland station after the Raiders’ home victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday evening when he spotted a humankind fall onto the tracks.
“It seemed a lot slower than it actually happened, ” O’Connor said at a press conference Monday after footage of his impressive rescue proceeded viral online.
“He came to the side, I figured he wasn’t going to make it so I grabbed him and drew him up to the platform, ” he told local media, according to a news release from BART. “That’s what we do. We get foreworkers, develop operators, terminal agents who deal with this on a daily basis. We preach safety, and we rule it.”
In the intense video, a large crowd jostlings on the platform, waiting for the train to arrive. Many of the passengers wear black Raiders gear, but O’Connor can be spotted wearing a yellow vest near the middle of the platform.
As the civilize approaches the stop, a human can be seen walking onto the yellow safety strip before falling onto the tracks. According to BART, the man was intoxicated.
Tonight we are thankful for John. He’s a former Train Operator who was promoted to Transportation Supervisor. He was working the Coliseum Station for the Raiders game and seen anyone on the platform who needed assist. He saved a life tonight. Thank you John. Show him some enjoy. https :// t.co/ BIb5NMdZFj
— SFBART (@ SFBART) November 4, 2019
With simply seconds before the civilize arrives at the stop, O’Connor can be seen quickly diving towards the man and hauling him back up onto the platform.
O’Connor, who has worked for BART for 24 years, said Monday that he had no time to think when he saw the man fall. “I only looked and it just happened.”
“There genuinely was no time to make a decision, ” he said, adding that while he was initially angry at the intoxicated man’s carelessness, that feeling promptly melted away, establishing room for “relief and gratitude, ” according to the BART’s release. O’Connor said he told the man to “pay it forward.”
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But despite O’Connor’s selfless act, he said Monday that “it’s really awkward to be called a hero.”
“That’s what we’re supposed to do, ” he said. “We’re all human beings and life is precious.”
“A lot of periods, people recognize us and they don’t understand what we’re doing and what we’re going through but when something like this goes down, we rise to the occasion, ” he continued. “Whether it’s the ’8 9( Loma Prieta) Earthquake, the Giants World Series, you identified it, BART’s been here for the Bay Area, and what we do is we try to get people where they need to be.”
Read more: people.com