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A Boy Wandered Onto the Subway Tracks. A No. 5 Train Operator Sprang Into Action

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/04/nyregion/boy-rescued-subway-tracks.html

 

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A Boy Wandered Onto the Subway Tracks. A No. 5 Train Operator Sprang Into Action.

By Corina Knoll
April 4, 2019



He had wandered onto the Brooklyn subway tracks near Hoyt Street Station on Thursday morning, a boy of about 12, unattended and willing to test fate.

He managed to amble over the rail that carries 600 volts of electricity and wedge himself between the columns that separate the local and express tracks.

It was about 9:15 a.m., and a northbound train was barreling his way.

The response was swift. A customer hurried to a call box and pushed a button for help. The station agent who got the call notified the rail control center. All train operators in the area received an alert and were told to be on the lookout.

By then Hopeton Kiffin, a 51-year-old operator for the No. 5 train, had already spotted a flash of red on the tracks ahead of him in an area his express train would normally rush through. He slowed the train down. Someone on the platform pointed. There stood a boy in a red shirt, staring straight ahead, clapping his hands.

“I’ve seen strange things, adults walking on the tracks — once I saw a guy who was on there walking to the next station — but this one, with the child standing there, I was taken aback,” Mr. Kiffin said in an interview.

Mr. Kiffin’s reaction was swift but gentle. He secured the train, jumped out and approached the boy, who did not speak or respond physically or verbally to words.

“He was very serious — there was no emotion, no verbal communication, not a lot of eye contact,” Mr. Kiffin said.

So the father of three stopped talking and offered his hand.

“I have an 8-year-old daughter and sometimes words — they don’t listen — so I just gently held him by the hand,” he said. “I thought, ‘Let me guide him, and let him feel secure.’”

For a moment, the frequent subway story line of shared communal woe took a turn. Complaints about delayed trains, jam-packed platforms and violent crime were briefly overshadowed by Mr. Kiffin’s compassion.

About 15 minutes passed. Some people watched from the platform. Mr. Kiffin asked them how the boy had gotten into such an unusual place. No one knew.

Eventually Mr. Kiffin got the boy to walk to the waiting train and coaxed him into the operator’s cab.

The train then moved to the next stop, Borough Hall, where the police were waiting. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital to be evaluated.

Mr. Kiffin was praised for his efforts.

“I’m very proud of our train operator and station agent for their quick action to bring this child to safety without incident so that he can be reunited with his family,” the president of New York City Transit, Andy Byford, said in a statement.

Tony Utano, the president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, said Mr. Kiffin had helped to avoid a terrible tragedy.

“You can never relax when you are operating a subway train,” Mr. Utano said in a statement. “You have to be alert for anything out of place. This story has a happy ending only because this operator spotted this child and managed to get him to safety.”

Mr. Kiffin lives in East Flatbush and has been a train operator for 13 years. When reflecting on the day’s events, he was relieved that his instincts as a train operator and a parent had quickly fused. Things could have gone very differently, he believed, had the boy become frightened or upset or fallen on the electric rail.

“I feel I did my job,” Mr. Kiffin said.

 

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How in the world a 12 year old end up between the lcl and exp tracks stepping over a 3 rail...:blink:... Where the hell is his parents...

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10 minutes ago, biGC323232 said:

How in the world a 12 year old end up between the lcl and exp tracks stepping over a 3 rail...:blink:... Where the hell is his parents...

He was autistic and managed to get away from his parents. Lucky he didn't have any adverse reaction when the T/O stopped to help. 

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2 minutes ago, Enjineer said:

He was autistic and managed to get away from his parents. Lucky he didn't have any adverse reaction when the T/O stopped to help. 

Manage to get away...Spare me that one..<_<..So he managed to get away come off the platform and cross a set of tracks 3 rail and all and it took a 5 train operator to save him...

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, biGC323232 said:

Manage to get away...Spare me that one..<_<..So he managed to get away come off the platform and cross a set of tracks 3 rail and all and it took a 5 train operator to save him...

Sometimes unfortunately, you can't question peoples instincts and luck into getting into and out of certain places, that may be beyond the point here. I do agree with you however that his parent's should've definitely kept a better eye on him, especially as the child's life isn't guaranteed on the subway seeing his state. 

Total applauds to Mr. Kiffin though, his natural instincts in saving the child show a true capability of T/O's to remain professional and act fast.

Edited by NoHacksJustKhaks
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2 minutes ago, NoHacksJustKhaks said:

Sometimes, you can't question peoples instincts and luck into getting into certain places, that may be beyond the point here. I do agree with you however that his parent's should've kept a better eye on him, especially as the child's life isnt always guaranteed on the subway seeing his state. 

And thats my point here....Listen there no way im entering the subway with a 12 year old or younger with a disorder and allow him to break loose from me and enter the tracks...i dont care what anyone says...

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Posted (edited)

My brother got lost on the (B) train at 71st street back in 97, he's also autistic. I remember, I was 4 years old, my brother was 7. We were going to buy Halloween costumes on 20th avenue Party Fair. The train was coming and my mother told my brother to go catch the train, so he literally thought that and ran under the turnstiles and caught the train. I was running after him and by the time I got to catch up, he was inside the train and as I told him to get out, the doors closed and he went off towards Coney Island. I told my mom and then we had to hop on the next train and find him. So we got on the next train took it to Coney Island, but we still couldn't find him, eventually the train operator got a call saying they found him at Bay Parkway in the lounge area where the conductors and TO go and got to watch Superman with them was fed a tuna fish sandwich and got 2 dollars. 

I was freaking pissed that he got to hang out with the staff, got free food and money, I was like wtf, I should've got lost with him!

Also I didn't get my damn Halloween costume that day because of him!!

Atleast i got to meet a TO and practically had the whole (B) train to myself because of the time of day and my brother.

 

Edited by ABOGbrooklyn
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10 minutes ago, NoHacksJustKhaks said:

Sometimes, you can't question peoples instincts and luck into getting into certain places, that may be beyond the point here. I do agree with you however that his parent's should've kept a better eye on him, especially as the child's life isnt always guaranteed on the subway seeing his state. 

I can't help but wonder if his parents/guardians had other things/people to deal with at the same time.

(As an aside, I was just reminded of when I ran into traffic while my mother had to use crutches to get around.)

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6 minutes ago, Lex said:

I can't help but wonder if his parents/guardians had other things/people to deal with at the same time.

(As an aside, I was just reminded of when I ran into traffic while my mother had to use crutches to get around.)

That's actually a really good point you brought up, parents can only go so far for their children sometimes. Even one little slip up as you and @ABOGbrooklyn pointed out can lead to a huge butterfly effect. I still encourage people to try hard in protecting children near the subway, since these events could be better prevented.

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As my profile picture shows, it's not as though parent can have Skynet level surveillance and handcuff them to the couch.

Heck, I'm glad the kid is out getting fresh air. 😁

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I hear a lot about messed up kids at my job. The thing is… sometimes the kids themselves make a conscious choice to get away from their parents. 11~17 is right around the age when things go haywire in a lot of people.

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Well, some parents are failed to do their jobs as guardians. I have seen a mom just left her baby crying and she just kept playing her phone all the way from 7AV to Roosevelt Ave or Forest Hill on a rush hour E. And this happened twice and the second mom was talking to her friend. 

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20 hours ago, biGC323232 said:

allow him to break loose from me and enter the tracks

The thing is, it's not like whoever was with the kid intentionally let him get onto the tracks. I'm sure all it took was a spit second of not paying attention (something very easy to have happen by accident) for the kid to get away from his guardian. 

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22 hours ago, whz1995 said:

Well, some parents are failed to do their jobs as guardians. I have seen a mom just left her baby crying and she just kept playing her phone all the way from 7AV to Roosevelt Ave or Forest Hill on a rush hour E. And this happened twice and the second mom was talking to her friend. 

No. The parents can do everything right and their kids are still messed up. It's almost as if it's a part of human biology to go bonkers in adolescence. Refer to Idiocracy to see how that may have happened.

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