Friday, November 09, 2007

Twas the Morning Before Starbucks

Today’s Path Train ride became one I would never forget. I boarded the already heavily packed morning train to find myself standing at the door with my back to the other riders. Already sleepy, I set my balance, gripped the pole, then slowly closed my eyes for a quick nap on the way to 33rd Street. Suddenly, I was awoken by a yelp and scream. In what seemed like slow motion, I turned around and caught the site of a woman dropping to the floor with her eyes wide open and rolling back into her head. As she dropped, she hit her head on one of the poles and then the edge of a seat creating a loud thump. For a split second people witnessing the fall were in shock and just watched as this young woman whom had fallen straight down wasn’t moving. Everyone watching sort of panicked then moved quickly toward her to help the 20-something woman who had suddenly collapsed before our eyes. I (someone who had hardly taken a college science class, yet had bravely and courageously dissected a frog in high school) quickly joined another woman to see if either of us could find her pulse. I couldn’t find it (but then again I could hardly ever find my own). Meanwhile a man pulled the emergency stop and contacted the conductor. One man tried to help the unconscious woman sit up, but the woman immediately began curling up in a ball. Another man yelled, “Is anyone here a doctor?” Someone added, “Don’t let her fall asleep!” The conductor contacted someone on his walky-talky and requested emergency medical help be ready at 33rd Street stop. I felt as if the train had then transformed into an Ambulance as we flew past all of the typical stops on route to 33rd Street, sounding its horn along the way.

At 33rd the train stopped. I saw the Emergency staff quickly coming down the steps. The passengers immediately exited the train in their usual swift fashion, yet everyone by the look on their faces was concerned and shook up over what they had just experienced on the train and how helpless we all felt for those few minutes between Christopher Street and 33rd.

When I finally got to the office, I broke down and cried. I suddenly realized how alone I am in New York, how if anything ever happened to me, and I was totally unable to help myself, I would have to rely on strangers for help. It was good to see everyone react. Everyone pitched in to their best capacity. Everyone cared. I hope this young woman is ok.


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