It was a normal journey home from school yesterday for Jack and me. We walked to the subway station with his friend, Lisa, her sister and mother, and waited on the platform among all the other school children and their parents and caregivers. Jack was so excited that the “B” train came first because for some reason he and Lisa love the “B” train. Jack and I typically exit the train at 72nd Street, as it’s closer to where we live but lately, he has asked (pleaded) to take it to 59th Street, the next stop. This is Lisa’s stop and he likes to ride with her. Who am I to come between friends?
As the train rolled into the 59th Street station we gathered all our stuff and began to exit. Now Jack is a seasoned subway rider and prides himself on knowing all the different lines and stations. In other words — he’s obsessed with subways. One thing we taught him early on about riding the subway is to stay away from the platform edge and when entering and exiting the train, be mindful of the gap. Unfortunately for Jack he suffers from an inherited condition from his mother’s side of the family called, “excessive talking.” So on this day as he was exiting the subway he was chatting up a storm with Lisa and wasn’t mindful of the gap and yes, his foot and leg got stuck.
As he screamed out the words, “Mommy, my foot is stuck,” not only did I have an out-of-body experience and go into superhero mode to pull him to safety, the entire platform came running to his rescue. Right as I grabbed him and pried his little foot free, his shoe fell off and hit the tracks. He got very upset because these are his brand new, favorite shoes. As I was comforting him and telling him I didn’t care about the shoe because it could be replaced, out of the corner of my eye I see a man jumping out of the tracks with the shoe in his hands!
Now I’ll be honest and say that once I knew Jack was safe, for a nanosecond I thought, “Damn, his new shoes.” But that was a passing thought because I really could have cared less about the SHOE. And while I’m grateful for this man’s random act of kindness, I’m horrified at the thought of what could have happened. I sincerely thanked him and told him he really didn’t need to have done that since it was so dangerous and he simply looked at me and said, “I’m a father and the same thing happened to my son.”
The whole experience was truly mind-numbing and I can’t stop thinking about the what-ifs. But since everything turned out OK – I’ll choose to think about the Superman of the Subway that saved my son’s shoe and pray he will retire his cape and NEVER jump onto the train tracks again.