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Hero rail workers lauded for saving a toddler with autism from train tracks

A group of rail workers was commended and hailed as heroes by New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority after saving a three-year-old boy who was wandering onto train tracks in Tarrytown, New York.

The heart-thumping incident was caught on video on April 16 where a man can be seen running to the train tracks to save a child.

The first one to spot the wandering toddler was Engineer William Kennedy, who was operating a southbound train that day. He saw that the child had wandered onto the live track and was moving toward the electrified third rail.

One of the rail workers ran to save a boy.

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority

In a video released by Metropolitan Transit Authority, someone can be heard saying, “There’s a little kid North of you, guys.” Kennedy was operating a train that moved 70 miles per hour so he immediately slammed on the breaks and inform his other team members about the dangerous situation.

“I got four kids so as soon as I saw it was a child, instantly ‘daddy’ kicked in and I thought, ‘We got to save this kid,’” Kennedy said.

Rail workers stopped to save a child.

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority

Meanwhile, authority assistant conductor Marcus Higgins was heading in the other direction. He also so the boy and stopped the train. He rushed towards the train tracks to save the child from danger.

“I’m screaming and trying to wave in this direction, like, go the other way. But, you don’t know how young he was,” said Higgins. Later on, they discovered that the three-year-old boy, whose name was Waylon, has autism and is non-verbal.

The spot where the rail workers saw the boy.

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority

While the whole event was unfolding, Waylon’s mother and sister had reported him missing to Sleepy Hollow police officers. Higgins immediately brought the child onto the stopped train so he could reunite with his mother and sister after an hour of separation.

Waylon’s mother could not thank the hero rail workers enough for saving her little boy from such a risky situation. “That was a miracle from God,” she said in Spanish. She was so thankful that her son was not injured. He only got a splinter on his hand and safely got back home.

One of the rail workers save a boy from train tracks

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority

Higgins was also thankful that the rescue had been successful. “In the heat of the moment when you see a child in this situation, your first instinct is to make sure they’re safe. I’m glad our crew was there and able to help.”

He was so relieved that nothing bad happened to the boy. “God forbid, you know, this could have gone in a totally different direction,”

Kennedy shared that the third rail was 600 volts and if the boy touched it he would have grounded himself. “It would have been a totally different story. He would have hurt himself really badly,” said Kennedy.

Marcus Higgins, one of the rail workers who saved the boy

Source: YouTube

“Had we left a minute earlier or later, the outcome would have been different. He may have been out in the rail and even further and none of us would have seen him.

As a father of four, Kennedy said his sense of urgency kicked in which pushed him really hard to help save the child. For Higgins, it was God’s will that they got there at that exact time so they could see the boy and save his life.   

The bravery and wisdom of the rail workers didn’t go unnoticed by the Metropolitan Authority in New York. They were honored on April 24 and were commended by the Metro-North Railroad president Catherine Rinaldi.

MTA commends rail workers who helped save a boy's life.

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority

“These fine team members embodied the qualities we want our employees to exhibit while on duty: alert, responsive, knowledgeable, and helpful,” she said.

Kudos to these hero rail workers who acted quickly to save the child’s life. May their courage and compassion inspire more people to save lives when they can.

Watch how the rail workers saved the boy in this video:

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