JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
“I could see the light in the tunnel when I was on the tracks, but I knew I could move the guy with enough time to go, plus I wasn’t willing to stand back and watch the guy get hit, knowing I didn’t do anything or try.”
These were the thoughts that ran through U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Damian Davies’ head as he made the spilt decision to assist an elderly man who fell on the train tracks in Brooklyn, New York.
The 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron facilities system superintendent and his family were waiting on the Manhattan-bound “A” Train at Nostrand Avenue in the wee hours of the morning on April 1, 2018.
“I heard a loud ‘thud’ and people began shouting and screaming for the (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) clerk to call the New York Police Department—initially I thought it was a fight or scuffle and someone was hurt,” Davies said. “I honestly didn’t think much, I felt a slight adrenaline rush and just dropped what I had in my hands and proceeded to jump on the tracks. Right before I jumped, I looked down the tunnel and knew I, if no one would help me, would get this guy off the tracks, so he didn’t die.”
Once the Sacramento, California native made it onto the tracks, he assessed the man, asking him questions like “Does your neck or back hurt?” and “Are you okay?”
He then directed a youngster to help him provide assistance.
“I told a young kid I was going to grab this guy and lean him against the boarding step, (which was) about chest high to me,” Davies said. “I put one of the guy’s arms around my neck and told him to squeeze while I lifted him. Then I proceeded to lift and turn him around since the track steps were behind me. The young kid followed my directions to grab his arms while I lifted (the man off the tracks.)”
According to Davies, fate led him and his family to this location, so he could help save a life.
“I never thought something like this would happen to me, but I do believe everything happens for a reason,” Davies said. “Honestly, we were not supposed to be at that station. We were supposed to take the “Q” Train from Prospect Park, Brooklyn straight to 34th Street in Manhattan. Instead I did what I always do and thought about quicker options. (When) I initially I thought there was a fight of some sort, I immediately thought ‘Seriously, this would happen to me with my family because I decided to take a detour.’”
Although helping the elderly man meant putting himself in danger, Davies said it was worth it.
“As corny as this may sound, it feels good to help people,” he said. “I put a front on just like everyone else that I don’t care, but we cannot continue to operate selfishly as a society.”
Davies hopes his act of kindness is paid forward in some way. He continues to live life by his personal motto: “You only have one life, take advantage of every opportunity and it’s okay to take risks!”