A Good Samaritan who helped authorities arrest a man who derailed a New York subway train gets free rides for a year for his “heroic deeds.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority honored Rikien Wilder, 44, on Wednesday after chasing a suspect on a Manhattan subway platform and clearing debris from the track on Sunday.
“New Yorkers are known to put others before themselves, and that’s exactly what Rikien Wilder has done,” Patrick Foye, CEO of MTA, said in a statement.
Wilder received one year of unlimited subway and bus rides from MTA “in recognition of his bravery,” the MTA said.
No one was seriously injured in Sunday’s runway derailment with 135 passengers on board, and Foye attributed Wilder’s quick thinking to clearing the initial debris that potentially helped save lives.
“I never really saw myself as a hero,” Wilder told reporters on Wednesday. He said his parents had always taught him to take care of others, pushing him to take action.
A self-described metro “regular” Wilder said it was early in the morning and the platform was silent but still heard a sound. He followed him and said he saw a man on the track, placing objects on and beside the rails.
After the man left, Wilder jumped up and removed what he could before he felt the train coming. He then reported what he saw to an MTA employee.
When he returned to the platform, Wilder said he saw the man still there and smiling after putting more debris on the rails. As the train derailed, Wilder said he could see the man celebrating. A chase ensued and Wilder said he grabbed the man just before he could exit the station.
Wilder said he put the suspect in a choke, threatened to break his arm, and then held him for 15 minutes. While holding the man, Wilder said he sprained his wrist.
“It bothered me,” Wilder said as he watched the man rejoice in wreaking havoc on the tube station. “I was disturbed. I was in shock, I watched him smile and watch the train wreck.
The suspect was then arrested and charged.
Wilder said it always bothered him to see reports of people committing crimes in public places, but no one around them was taking action to arrest the person.
“Normally we don’t encourage runners, customers to go down the slopes,” said Foye. “But in this case, Mr. Wilder did so at great peril and in the interest of protecting the lives of New Yorkers, his fellow clients and our employees.”
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