On January 2, after seeing a young man have a seizure and fall into the 1 subway tracks at at the 137th Street station just as a train was entering the station, construction worker Wesley Autrey jumped in and covered the other man's body with his own. The train passed over them and a hero was born.
Autrey repeatedly told the media that he didn't want his two young daughters to see the man, New York Film Academy student Cameron Hollopeter, get hit by a train so he made the split-second decision to jump in. When honored by the city, Autrey continued to inspire everyone with his story, saying, "I'm not looking at this like I'm the hero, cause the real heroes are the young men and women that are fighting in Iraq now. What I did is something that any New Yorker should do, you know what I'm saying, if you see somebody in distress, do the right thing." President Bush even invited him to the State of the Union address and said, "There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey."
These days, Autrey is happy to say he'd "do it all over again." The Daily News spoke to the humble hero who said his year was "incredible": People cheer for him near the 137th Street subway stop (the token booth clerk even "greets him by name"), which he uses to go to work.
He has a lifetime subscription to Playboy (he was wearing a Playboy cap during the rescue), which complements the $10,000 given to him by Donald Trump (who wrote about Autrey in Time magazine). Also, Disney gave him and his family a trip to Disney World and tickets to the Lion King, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing his bravery and the MTA gave him a year's worth of free rides (which should have been a lifetime offer, we think).
New York profiled Autrey earlier this year, noting his spat with his lawyers (claims that Autrey signed over 50% of his earnings to them, he claimed they misled him). But by November, Autrey settled with them.
Photograph at top of Autrey during the State of the Union from the White House