So this is a true story…
I am on the crowded metro coming home from the office, sitting facing backward and toward the middle of the car.
There is some noise and rustling coming up from behind me, and I see people’s heads turning and startled looks on their faces.
I turn around to see what is going on…
Someone in a wheelchair is screaming to get off the train.
However, he is caught about halfway in between the closing metro doors, and can’t get back in or out and off the train.
There is one guy who was apparently standing by the doors, and he is trying to get the door open, but can’t budge it.
Everyone else on this busy train seems just frozen, almost as if time had stopped (really).
But the double train doors are wedged into the larger and smaller wheels (for hand turning) on the side of the wheelchair.
The person in the chair is still calling out for help and to be released from the clasp of these heavy doors around him–in his seated position, his lower torso from his thighs down are positioned outside the train, but his upper body is still on the train.
The conductor is trying to move the train again and again…and it’s not apparent whether the failsafe mechanism for the open door will work as the train is lurching forward and the doors are sort of vibrating in this quick open/close fashion.
Then, I see someone spontaneously jump out of their seat.
They are racing to the wheelchair jammed in the doors.
I see them first try and push open on the left side…but it’s still not budging.
Then, they try and pull the other, right side, open towards them…but it’s to no avail as the forceful doors are wedged in on around the chair.
With everything around them a blur of seats and faces, the person turns their head looking around for another way…
They see like a target standing out in the distance, an emergency intercom on the front wall of the train.
The person lunges toward it and hits the round button.
The conductor who is still fidgeting with the doors to get them closed and trying to move the train ever forward comes hastily on the speaker, but apparently not connecting the call to him with what’s going on with the doors and wheelchair says “Yeah, what’s the emergency?”
The person catching himself, musters the words to say into the comm device, “There is a wheelchair stuck in the train doors– OPEN THE DOORS!”
The conductor immediately reacts and the doors pull apart from both sides, and the wheelchair almost falls forward, the disabled person sort of thrown from the train, but finally on the platform, and wheeling themselves as quickly as they can towards the elevator to get away from this whole situation.
With nothing left to do, the person who helped, let’s out a deep breath and is visibly shaken, but also glad to see the person in the wheelchair safe and on their way.
As he is walking back to his seat, he realizes there are a lot of eyes on him that were just a blur before.
At the same time, over the speaker system comes the relieved voice of the conductor with a simple “Thank you.”
I see the person sit down, calling his wife to tell her what happened, he starts to silently cry. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)