Metro-North Employees Commended for Helping Save Commuter’s Life

MTA Metro-North Railroad has recognized nine of its employees for seamlessly working together to save an unresponsive customer on board a train. Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi thanked the employees for their extraordinary efforts and teamwork at today’s meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board’s Metro-North Committee.

It was the end of the day on December 20, and the 5:17 p.m. train from Grand Central bound for Wassaic was moments away from closing its doors when a customer cried for help because a fellow passenger was lying prone on the train floor; it looked like he had stopped breathing, and his face was blue.

The Good Samaritan called out to General Foreman Jason Tiller, who was on the train platform. Without hesitating, Tiller placed a radio call to the MTA Police Department and Metro-North’s Fire Brigade, and Assistant Conductor John Hagan cleared a path so that first responders could get to the customer in distress as quickly as possible.

Within moments of receiving Tiller’s call, Laurence Jacobs, Grand Central Terminal Fire Brigade Assistant Chief, Sohail Peter, a Grand Central Terminal Fire Brigade volunteer, and MTA Police Officers were at the scene. Jacobs and Peter took the reins from another Good Samaritan, an off-duty Emergency Medical Technician who happened to be on board the train, who was performing manual Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation on the customer. 

“Grand Central Terminal is a vast and non-uniform building, with over five miles of tunnels and passageways,” said Jacobs, a resident of Port Washington, New York. The Brigade is first on the scene for emergencies at the Terminal, and we direct the NYPD, FDNY and MTAPD so that they get to the incident location as quickly as possible.”

Jacobs and Peter moved the man from the aisle into an open space in the car so they could adequately give him the care he desperately needed, and immediately administered two shocks to his chest with a defibrillator.

“You approach every emergency scene with confidence, ready to help and with good thoughts for the person’s recovery,” said Peter, who works as a custodian for Metro-North and has been volunteering for the Fire Bridge for over seventeen years. “Shortly after we started working to resuscitate the man, we felt a pulse, and he started breathing again. That was the greatest moment.” 

As Jacobs and Peter worked to save the man, MTA Police officers, raced out to Lexington Avenue and waved down an ambulance. EMS transported him to the nearest hospital; he’s since been released and has made a full recovery. 

While first responders worked to revive the customer, Metro-North train crews had to make sure that hundreds of customers on board the train arrived safely to their destination with as little disruption to service as possible.

Trainmaster Robert Fitzgerald, Conductor Yvonne Hyatt, Trainmaster Scott Zucker, Track PA Operator Delra Dangleben, and Trainmaster Joseph Marciano worked in concert to facilitate clearing the train for this medical emergency, efficiently getting customers back on the move and on to a different train.

“This was a great example of the sort of team work that I see every day here at Metro-North,” said Fitzgerald, a Putnam County resident. “First and foremost, we all stepped up to help a customer who was in distress, and secondly, to keep service running smoothly.”

“Customers and visitors to Grand Central Terminal should feel assured that in the event of an emergency, all of our employees at Metro-North stand ready to assist at a moment’s notice,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Metro-North President. “This incident underscores the compassion, skill and professionalism of our employees and MTA Police Department officers, and it demonstrates how we all work together here at Metro-North to ensure customer safety and reliable service. I’m proud to recognize Jason, John, Rob, Scott, Yvonne, Delra, Joseph, Sohail and Laurence and extend my thanks for their efforts.”