compiled by Patrick H. moore

Just when we think all of the crime news is bad news, another American Everyday Hero rises to the occasion and not only restores our faith in humanity, but also demonstrates that we, the everyday people, can truly make a difference in keeping our street and cities safe. This time our Hero is a 45-year-old mother of two, Felicia Williams, a New York City subway station cleaner who recently helped the police catch a man who allegedly snatched a woman’s wallet inside the 18th Street subway station and fled. Elise Solé of Yahoo Shine writes:

fel4It’s one thing to witness and report a crime — it’s another to intervene, risking your own life in the process.

On March 18, Williams was working with six interns on a project at the 18th Street station on the No. 1 line when she heard bloodcurdling screams she says she’ll never forget.

“These were screams of a terrified woman,” Williams told Yahoo Shine. “They were coming from the other side of the platform, so I couldn’t see what was going on until I walked to the end and several workers ran toward me, yelling that a woman was being robbed.”

Way across the platform, Felicia spotted a young man in a windbreaker and a baseball cap pulling a woman backwards down the subway stairs by the strap of her handbag. Apparently the mugger got what he was after. In any event, he abandoned her female victim and took off fleeing the station.

“I didn’t think, I just reacted,” says Williams.

Felicia yelled at the ticket booth clerk to sound the emergency alarm which would notify the station agent and the police and fire departments. She then raced up the subway stairs hoping to intercept the mugger.

“When I reached the street, I saw the guy surface at the station across the street, but I had to wait until the lights changed to chase him.”

fel5The Force was with Felicia and she was able to catch up to the man, who instead of running was playing it cool, acting like he was just another innocuous pedestrian in a huge, teeming city. Felicia also played it cool and trailed slowly behind him. And she was stunned by what she saw. Elise Solé writes:

As he calmly walked along 17th Street, the man removed his cap and windbreaker to reveal a crisp, clean suit underneath, and then threw the clothes into a nearby trashcan. “He looked like a businessman,” says Williams.

Luckily, a van carrying school safety officers happened to drive past, and Williams began waving her arms frantically in the air. The van stopped and several officers jumped out and chased the man, catching and apprehending him.

The suspect was later identified as Robert McLeod, a 20-year-old man from Bayonne, N.J. According to the Daily News, he has been charged with robbery and assault.

felFelicia then returned to the 18th Street station to go back to work. After all, she was training six interns and she didn’t want them standing around idle. As soon as she got back to the station, though, she took the time to comfort the victim who was definitely not taking things in stride.

“She was hysterical and had a hurt leg,” Williams remembers. Later, she learned that the woman’s leg had been broken in the attack.

As we might expect from an Everyday Hero, Williams says it was just all in the day’s work:

“I was just doing my job, and anyone who would have heard this woman’s screams would have helped, too,” she says. “People need to watch their surroundings in the subway, whether they’re walking [through the station] or waiting for the train. This incident has definitely made me more aware.”

“We exchanged phone numbers and she invited me to dinner,” says Williams. “I know we’ll stay in touch forever.”

*     *     *     *     *

mumThis is the second year of the now annual Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards which are given to bus and subway workers, toll booth clerks, and train operators who go the extra mile to keep travelers safe. It is organized by the New York Daily News, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and TWU Local 100 (New York’s largest public transit union).

“Candidates typically share three qualities,” Pete Donohue, transit reporter and columnist at the New York Daily News, told Yahoo Shine in an email. “They’re proud of their work, they care about others, and they’re tough when it matters. They’re New Yorkers you can count on. Last year, one winner rescued a man in a wheelchair who had tumbled onto the tracks, another is a bus driver who learned greetings in many languages so he could address his diverse ridership. Williams wouldn’t allow a vicious criminal to get away … she followed the guy at some risk to her own safety.”

As a result of her heroics, Ms. Williams has been nominated for the Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 15. The winners will be featured in a special section of the New York Daily News and honored at a ceremony Jan. 29.

 

 

2 Responses to New York City Subway Station Cleaner Nabs Mugger and Wins Hearts!

  1. PabonMatriarch says:

    This warms my heart and makes it race simultaneously. The courage, or idiocy, it took for anyone to chase after and track a criminal as she did is AWESOME and an extremely dangerous venture.

    NYC’s new Mayor has to give her a Medal of Valor for her good citizenship. Hey, and include her in the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Some people just instinctively do the right thing even at risk to themselves. Others would not think of it, or if they did, they would talk themselves into staying out of it.

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