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December 6th, 2012
12:14 AM ET

Subway hero on photographer: 'Not our job to judge'

After a photographer shot the chilling photo of a man stranded on subway tracks many have asked why he used his flash to try and alert the train, instead of jumping to his rescue.
Chad Lindsey did just that. In 2009 Lindsey saw a man fall onto the subway tracks and jumped down to save him.

Chad Lindsey describes himself as a trained dancer and actor, so when the man fell he jumped down to help him because he was 'trained to catch someone when they fall,' and that this instance is different because this was a photographer, trained to take pictures, "its not our job to judge his actions, its our job to control our own."

He explains how quickly you need to act in that moment: "People have different reflexes and you don't know what they are until you are tested." Lindsey points out, "We don’t know what happened, that is a still shot, how do you know how far away he was?"

Lindsey notes that our culture now is not always focused on experiencing these kinds of moments as they happen. He says, "There were lots of people on that platform, and there were lots of people on the platform when I was in the same situation, and a lot of them backed up against the wall or ran for the station door, and our culture is obsessed with proving we were there…" He says, “we need to decide as Americans, as human beings, whether we are going to be in a moment, or whether we are going to take a picture of it. “

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Filed under: subway hero • subway tragedy
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Justin

    I would have froze. Not knowing whats going on, not sure what I should do, expecting to get yelled at or in some big trouble for acting.

    December 7, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  2. Harry A Downs Jr

    AS for safety to protect the innocent or a suspect criminal as death takes all, why can't the transportaiton community deivise or retrofit these trains with sensor techonlogy engineered in the same fashion for back up and or front end protection for automotive vehicles. I mean really this is an win-win situation for keeping folks employes manufacturing these type of retofits if desgined to fit train industry as well it saves lives on the tracks, not just in subways, but for vehicles stuck on r/r crossings. I believe someone or some group needs to pay attention the real danger here, and it is nto the train conductors fault wither, but no one is exmpt for not paying attention. If coming into a station very fast is the norm, is not thatspeed if to fast only for express trains and for inner rails bypassing stations. Shouldn't there by a slow down zone just as in school zones for speed. Let us consider a revisit to safety here, and not arrogance on the expense it takes to protect common life. On the other side of the coin , there is the incidence of not being in a good frame of mind or just plain old common sense in " I canbeat the rain philosophy, but in this case, a man's life was jeopardized pre meditated or not and that endangered his life and finally was a fatal situation. This situation as it was awkward for the photogrpaher was all in check when he was witness for further harm from suspect alleged to push man in and onto the tracks. Please review the importance here on future safety.

    December 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  3. Elle

    Chad Lindsey – such a nice person! Was a pleasure listening to him answer the questions with good sense of perspective on life – he said it so well. It's not our job to judge "Reflexes, he's a trained photographer". There were lots of other folks on the platform closer who could possibly have helped. NYC subway system should post diagrams and/or provide information to it's riders about what to do if they fall off the track, or are shoved off by crazies. Do most people know what the 3rd rail looks like – I don't!

    December 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Garry Perkins

      Well I don't know how the Q train station or platforms look like because every station is not the same some of them only has one platform and train's come on either side but for example the A/C is a brooklyn to Manhattan train and 2 of the stops in Brooklyn I can tell you is the Stop at Euclid Ave and another is Broadway Junction the have four platforms the 3rd rail is in the middle of the platforms and is the biggest track there is and that's just as deadly as getting hit by a train but to
      explain the 3rd rail is like this

      ------------3rd rail
      ___________________2nd rail
      ____________________1st rail
      or you can just goggle nyc subway track and the select images and look at the 4th photo and you'll see the 3rd rail to the right

      December 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Jack

    I just want to say that I agree entirely. I, like everyone else I am sure, hope to do the right thing when the moment comes, but it is nearly impossible to say that with certainty. No-one really waits for that "moment" when waiting for the train. Most are preoccupied with their smartphones, itunes, or just general concerns and thoughts of the day, so when it does happen, it may not be so surprising that some fall short of the ideal.

    December 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  5. james mc grane

    I caught the interview about the subway incident and its dangers and i thought it to be helpful to realize that there is 'space' in the NYC subway system by the platform downunder away from the tracks and even by wall near the third rail, though avoiding the 3rd rail is paramount, but yes there is space off from the track towards the underneath space near the 'track' as i was informed when i worked briefly for the Transit Authority back in '84 as an administrative aide with the police, which has merged with regular NYPD in the 90's . no one seems to be knowledgeable about the space down on the track area towards the wall, epsecially on platform side . really. check it out with authorities . usually the problem is that the person falling has been injured or is unconcious and handling that body is difficult . rememver the incident years back when a person helped a fallen guy by lying on top of him as the train passed over them ! but yes NYC subway system unlike many others does have 'safety' space down by the tracks . check it out !!

    December 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |