New York Film Academy student, 19 year old Cameron Hollopeter was in serious trouble. He had suffered a seizure in downtown Manhattan and helplessly lay on the sidewalk. Wesley Autrey was taking his two young daughters home when he came upon the scene. Autrey and two other women rushed to help. A pen was inserted in the student’s mouth to prevent his jaws from closing. Shortly afterwards Hollopeter got on his feet and staggered away. That’s when it happened.
Hollopeter stumbled towards the edge of the subway platform and then fell down on to the tracks between the two rails. Mr. Autrey saw the headlights of the No. 1 train fast approaching. While a woman held his two little girls, Autrey dove down into the tracks to rescue the student but there was not enough time to lift him to safety. Quickly, 50 year old Autrey (see picture of Autrey with his two daughters) threw himself over the young man and pressed him down into the two feet high drainage trench between the tracks and held him there.
Autrey asked himself: “Do I let the train run over him or do I jump in?” “I wrapped my arms and legs around him and tightened up. I had to lock my whole body,” Autrey told the New York Post.
The train’s brakes screeched as several cars rolled over the two men before coming to a stop. With just two inches to spare,
the bottom of the train grazed Mr. Autrey’s head leaving grease marks on his blue beanie. After the 20 minute ordeal, both men were lifted to safety while onlookers and workers applauded.
A very grateful and deeply indebted Hollopeter family issued a statement of thanks. The student’s father said: “Mr. Autrey’s instinctive and unselfish act saved our son’s life. There are no words to properly express our gratitude and feelings for his actions… May God’s blessings be with Mr. Autrey and his family.”
Among the other honors and words of praise Mr. Autrey received, was the commendation from the President of the United States. Wesley Autrey, along with his two little girls was among the President’s guests on January 23, 2007 when the State of the Union Address to Congress was given. He received a standing ovation for his selfless act of risking his life to rescue a complete stranger from certain death.
This was an amazing story that touched millions of hearts but there is another story that is infinitely more profound. The Bible records: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save (rescue) sinners.” 1Timothy 1:15.
at the right time
Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—
though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Mr. Autrey didn’t know what kind of a man he was risking his life for. But Christ knew the kind of people he would suffer and die for. Sinners. The ungodly. Enemies of God. The wicked. He knew this in advance (not after the fact) and precisely for that reason He came into the world to rescue us. It was a love unequalled in the universe. He loved His enemies and died to save them from their sins and from an eternity of conscious suffering.
USA Today said “…Autrey stared down death and a 37 ton New York subway car to pluck a stricken film student from harm’s way.” The bottom of the train grazed the top of his head and but fortunately only left grease marks on his beanie.
Christ not only stared at death, the Bible says He passed through death. He died. As for the death marks? Today in Heaven, the resurrected Christ wears the eternal marks of suffering and death – the nail wounds in his hands and feet and the wound in His abdomen to prove conclusively that He died upon the Cross.
Cameron Hollopeter’s father tried to express his thanks and gratitude. Have you ever tried to express your gratitude and thanks to Christ for what He did on your behalf? A refusal to accept the salvation God has provided through His Son, will result in your eternal damnation.
Accept the Rescuer today. Trust Christ. Express your profound gratitude to Him today for His death on your behalf.
New York Times, Man Is Rescued by Stranger on Subway Tracks, by Cara Buckley, January 3, 2007
Wikipedia, Wesley Autrey
USA Today, CTV News, New York Post, January 3, 2007