Disaster Strikes On Subway And One Man Races Against The Clock To Save A Stranger

When it comes to public transit, most commuters won’t even make eye contact, let alone treat each other like human beings. They just put their headphones on, stare at the floor, and retreat into a headspace where they’re literally anywhere but an underground tunnel.

So when a dreadful accident transpired in the New York City subway in 2017, everyone was lucky that the selfless Jon Kulig was there. While fear paralyzed everyone else, Jon ran to the rescue. And he knew the stakes: if he didn’t act fast and get a little bit lucky, all his bravery would be for nothing…

Jonathan Kulig trudged down the subway steps in a rotten mood. Was there anything worse than being called into work on a Saturday night? Jon thought he was unlucky at the time. He had no idea just how wrong he was.

YouTube / Inside Edition

The 29 year old was waiting for the L train in lower Manhattan. He’d followed this route many times before, so his brain was basically on auto-pilot.

Facebook / Jon Kulig

The young engineer, an employee of Con Edison, was more focused on getting to the company’s headquarters on time. The Con Edison Building’s iconic clock tower would let Jon and just about everyone in his office else know if he was late.

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A few shrieks from across the station broke Jon’s daze. He saw a group of passengers gathering around something and moved over to get a look at what caught their attention.

A man had somehow fallen onto the tracks. Even worse, he wasn’t moving or responding to the calls of any of the onlookers on the platform above. Nobody could say what was wrong with the unfortunate stranger, but it was obvious that he was in a bad spot.

YouTube / Marc Frazier

If he didn’t move, a train would pull into the station within minutes and crush him. Scanning the area, Jon didn’t see any way to alert the subway conductor to stop. He realized that someone in the station would have to take action.

Nobody else was doing much of anything. People simply gaped in horror, or more disconcertingly, whipped out their cell phones. Although Jon stood on the far side of the station — two tracks away from the fallen man — he hopped to the rescue.

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Fortunately, Jon knew his way around the train tracks. As part of his job with Con Edison, he had to take a subway maintenance safety course. Jon learned where to step, and more importantly, where not to step.

YouTube / New York City Files

Jon identified his biggest obstacle: the third rail. While the first two rails simply held up the passing trains, the third actually powered them with massive amounts of electricity. Anyone who so much as brushed against the third rail would die instantly.

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With these dangers in mind, Jon crossed the first and then the second electrified rail. He came upon the stranger, who appeared to be unconscious and in his early 20s. Even worse, he was lying in a filthy pool of water, which could conduct the fatal electricity.

New York Post / Helayne Seidman

Treading lightly, Jon heaved the young man into his arms. He had the strength to lift him, though the stranger was heavy enough that Jon could only move slowly. And time was a luxury that they did not have.

 Jon glanced left and right. By the time he saw the bright headlights of the subway train approaching, it would probably be too late — for either of them. But Jon caught a break, as there was still no train in sight.

After enlisting a couple other commuters to help him, Jon hoisted the man up on the platform. Jon clambered up right behind him and took a deep breath now that he was out of danger. An onlooker captured the entire moment on his phone.

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About a minute after Jon got to safety, a train whizzed directly over the spot where the man had fallen. If he had taken another moment to jump on the tracks, he would not have made it. For the first time in history, Jon was glad the subway hadn’t arrived on time!

When police and EMTs arrived at the subway station, they tried to piece together the full story. Jon’s heroics were clear, but they needed to figure out why the man fell on the tracks in the first place. Could he have been drunk?

Flickr / Treasure

As it turns out, a far more serious issue brought about the accident. The 23-year-old suffered a stroke right at the edge of the platform, which made him lose balance and paralyzed him on the tracks. 

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After Jon saw the victim secured in an ambulance, he set off for the office. He even made it on time and went about his workday as usual! Nobody knew this Clark Kent was actually a Superman

Within hours, however, the footage of Jon’s daring rescue went viral. But Jon didn’t think he did anything special, explaining, “If I didn’t pick him up, that train would’ve got him. ‘Cause there wasn’t really anybody else that was jumping down to do anything.”

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Still, plenty of others thought that Jon acted quite bravely. In fact, the NYPD honored him at a community meeting by giving him the 2017 Russo Hero Award. The distinction thrilled Jon, though he got one other opportunity that excited him even more.

QNS / Anthony Giudice

As a newsworthy bachelor, he stood out as a perfect candidate for the reality dating show Love Connection! Jon got his moment in the spotlight with three beautiful girls and got to hang out with Andy Cohen. Of course, Jon wasn’t nervous on TV — he’s got nerves of steel.

Facebook / Jon Kulig

As Jon proved, when we all care about each other, the world can be a better place. This was a sentiment Emily and Phillip Ocheltree knew all too well. When a tornado touched down near their hometown of Dallas, the couple tore down the rain-soaked highway in an SUV, fleeing to a shelter.

In the backseat, their kids, 18-month-old Addy and 4-month-old Marshal, were strapped into their car seats. So they, like their parents (see Emily on the right), were helpless when the truck hydroplaned on the wet roads.

Phillip, left, lost control of the vehicle, and the family’s black Chevrolet flipped on its roof into floodwaters raging roadside like a river. Now upside down, the water whipped past the doors and windows.

David Schecter / Facebook

Phillip and Emily tried opening the partially submerged doors, but the fearsome flood prevented them from doing so. Worse, water leaked into the truck’s cabin. The family panicked.

“It was pitch black in the car,” 21-year-old Emily said. “And you can’t see anything. You can’t find your kids, you panic.” Completely trapped and blind, she banged on the roof, yelled, and screamed for help.

What Philip and Emily didn’t know, however, was that, outside in the rain, a passerby named Thomas Mitchell, right, saw the upside-down truck. He didn’t know if anyone was inside, but he stopped to check anyway.

Thomas was not the only concerned passerby, though. As tornado sirens wailed in the distance, telling Texans to find safety fast, five other men—now six total—braved the tornado to inspect the flipped vehicle.

When one of the Good Samaritans, Korry Prox, heard screaming coming from inside the truck, he “went into panic mode.” He smashed the car’s windows, revealing to the helpers the terrified family trapped inside.

Phillip and Emily had been scrambling to save their kids, but under the stress and pressure, failed to do so. The helpers tried pulling the parents from the wreck, but Emily had another plan for them.

“Give [Addy and Marshal] life before you try to help me,” Emily told the men. She thought, “I’m fine. I am an adult. I can manage…I will figure out a way to get out of this vehicle, they cannot.” The heroic men complied.

Phillip Ocheltree / Facebook

Phillip and Emily scrambled through the broken window to dry land; feeling utterly helpless, the parents watched and Thomas filmed the scene as the rescuers fought flood waters to save Marshal and Addy.

David Schecter / Facebook

In the car, meanwhile, one rescuer called for a knife to cut the kids free from their car seats. Just moments later a rescuer emerged from the watery wreckage, carrying baby Marshal. But what about Addy?

David Schecter / Facebook

“I got a baby!” one rescuer shouted. “Call 911!” He held Addy, still strapped into her car seat. The 18 month old had turned a blueish grey and stopped breathing. Thomas then pocketed the phone and ran to perform CPR.

As luck would have it, though, one of the men who stopped to help was Jaime Martinez, a former firefighter in Guatemala. Though he worked as a musician at the time of the accident, he never forgot his rescue training.

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“It just kicks in,” he later said. He administered CPR to the struggling little girl, and kept her alive long enough to pass her off to first responders just minutes later. Medics then took Addy and Marshal to the hospital.

Marshal only spent one day at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas; Addy, on the other hand, fought for her life a bit longer. A few days later, Phillip posted an update about little Addy on social media.

“I just want everyone to know she is definitely on the road to recovery,” Phillip Wrote. “I want to thank each and every one of y’all who have prayed and donated every thing to help us.” The father had a special message for the six rescuers…

Phillip Ocheltree / Facebook

“Life comes at you in a blink of an eye,” Phillip wrote. “I can’t thank you all enough who came into the water and saved my children; you’re a blessing. Thank you all so much.”

CPR-hero Jaime also visited the family in the hospital, where he shared a tearful embrace with Emily. “I am really so happy that you are okay,” he told her. “And the babies, too.”

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