Friday, January 05, 2007

Angel in the subway

I don't consider myself to be the frisco, roughneck type. At the same time, I don't particularly wear my emotions on my sleeves. But I heard a story on the news yesterday that literally moved me to tears.

According to the story, New York resident Wesley Autrey showed the world what it truly means to be a hero. While with his two daughters in a New York subway, Autrey noticed a man fall on the tracks after suffering from a seizure. After handing his daughters off to the closest person around, Autrey then did the unimaginable: he jumped down to retrieve the man. This act would not have been as heroric except for two things: (1) the tracks are electrically charged and (2) there was a train coming. Nevertheless, Autrey instinctly jumped on the tracks and covered the convulsing man as the train passed over them.

The train missed Autrey's head by inches.

Both men emerged from the incident unscathed. The man who initially fell only received minor bumps and bruises, but is in relatively good shape. Autrey indicated that he was OK as well.

Stories like this refresh my faith in people. We hear countless stories about greedy and corrupt politicians, spoiled celebrities, negligent parents, violent offenders, etc. But very seldomly do you hear stories of selflessness, valor, and heroism. I mean, this man risked his life (in front of his daughters, no less) to save a complete stranger because, as he puts it, " was the right thing to do." While others stood and watched (I probably would've only been an onlooker myself), this man flirted with danger for somebody else. Most of us won't make simple sacrifices for the people we call "friends"; let alone risk our lives for complete strangers.

Mr. Autrey is starting to become somewhat of a celebrity because of his deeds. He's been scheduled to be on a couple of talk shows, has been given donations from some celebs (reportedly, Donald Trump gave him $10,000 which -- to me -- is an insult considering that he's a billionaire), scholarships have been set up for his daughters, and they've received lifetime passes to Disney World. Let me just go on the record by saying that whatever good fortune this man gets for his deeds won't be enough.

His ultimate reward, I believe, will come later when God says to him "Well done, my good and faithful servant..."

Thank you, Mr. Autrey.


26 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Cynthia said...

I'm speechless.

This story blessed me beyond measure.

saved_sinner said...

I guess this story just goes to show us that "the least of these" can come in any form. Not just the poor or the sick, but those who are literally looking into the face of death.

This man is amazing. His story is amazing. I can see why you'd be so moved by it. The presence of God has that affect on people.

Cynthia said...

I was also offended when I heard that "The Don" only donated $10,000. He probably spends more than that on his horrible combover.

But, you're right: God's reward will make all others pale in comparison.

Dana said...

That's the way to do it Mr. Autrey! It's incredible to see that people can still be so caring for one another, even if its done impulsively and for someone you don't know.

This man deserves all the highest honors that can be bestowed on a person.

KC said...

Man. What an incredible way to start the new year.

The only thing that I have to show for 2007 so far is that I finally paid off a speeding ticket...

JOSLYN said...

Kudos to the man. His bravery and accountability are refreshing to hear about, especially since we live in an era where everyone is constantly passing the buck of responsibility. I'm sure that the others in the subway saw that this man's life was in danger, but all passed the buck of responsibility for this mans life. (I, too, may have been in that number) However, your comment about Donald Trump struck a nerve with me. Here's why: Let's assume the man was a Christian. Was the man simply doing his Christian duty by helping his brother? Are we astounded because we saw someone do something that they're SUPPOSED to do? Just like the people who work the counter at Starbucks. Why the HELL do they have a tip jar? Your JOB is to MAKE COFFEE. Why do you need wages AND a tip for doing YOUR JOB?


I guess the bigger point is this: We live in a society where people are rewarded for doing what they're SUPPOSED to be doing anyway. We're spoiled. This article makes me more aware of the fact that I need to step up MORE and do the job that God has commanded all of his saints to do.....without looking for reward.


JOSLYN said...


Andre said...

@ Cyn: Me too.

@ saved_sinner: Hey Rob. You're absolutely correct. This is what happens when God convicts your heart to do something; even if it defies logic.

@ Trump bothered me too. It's like he's saying to the man, "Sacrificing yourself is worth...oh...let's say...$10,000). Insult!

@ Dana: I completely agree. This goes above and beyond anything I've ever heard. He deserves more than a couple of trinkets and some lines in the newspaper.

@ KC: If it makes you feel any better, the only worthwhile thing I've done so far is my laundry.

@ Jos: I get your point about earning rewards (or NOT earning rewards) for doing things we should be doing anyway. But that's not to say that -- even when somebody does what they should be doing -- they shouldn't be compensated for it. More importantly, they should be compensated COMMENSURATE to the value of their their deed. Tip jars at Starbucks are the world's way of saying "This great cup of coffee and your terrific service is worth more -- to me -- than the $6/hr you're being paid for it." I don't see anything wrong with that. Besides that, it's not like the man said "Whelp. I did my job in saving somebody. Now where's my money?" The world is calling him a hero. He's not.

It bothers me that people get the title "hero" attached to them, but they don't get recognized for it. If firefighters are such heroes, why do they make...oh...$30,000 a year? We pay pastors insane money for doing something they 'should' be doing and justify it Biblically. We pay athletes and entertains a fortune for keeping us entertained. Why don't we do the same for others...especially those who literally sacrifice their lives for others?

Joanne said...

Good point, Dre.

We live in a society where deeds receive rewards and punishments. Even in our Christian life, we earn rewards for how we follow God, whether we THINK we should receive them or not.

Even "doing the things we're supposed to do" will give us rewards. This doesn't mean that we should have the reward-earning mindset in our hearts when we do things. But honor is bestowed on people who do good. 2 Timothy 4:8

KC said...

I think its interesting how many of Jesus' teachings dealt specifically with the idea of rewards and blessings from good works, but the church doesn't seem to talk about it much.

Then again, many churches think that the prayer of Jabez is too selfish to be taught. So that might explain it.

Andre said...

@ Joanne/KC: I think that point needs to be made that we are DEFINITELY called to served God and others using the motivation of love and compassion as our device; and not to view our deeds as "work" for which we receive payment. But at the same time, the Bible does talk prominently about rewards. So, while rewards are NOT the only motive for us to do God work's, it is apart of the package that comes with it. Otherwise, we wouldn't pay pastors, church musicians, etc.

Furthermore, since we -- as humans -- are physical extensions of God, we're the ones who bless people. Last I checked, God never wrote a personal check payable to Pastor so-and-so. God gives earthly rewards through human hands.

Joslyn said...

I guess my point was missed (Even the part I put in all caps)

Of course the man wasn't looking for a reward.

Here's what I'm saying: The man went out and saved someone's life WITHOUT LOOKING for a reward. That's how WE should be. If we're not LOOKING for a reward, then why should we be offended when Donald Trump (Who, by the way, is not America's official award giver) donates $1 0,000.00?

(By the way, if you know anything about money, any amount received by the man that surpasses $10,000.00 would place him in a significantly different tax bracket. Donald COULD HAVE given him more, and by him being the "money guru" that he is, only "reported" 10,000.00)

Did anyone of us send the man a thank you card or a letter signifying how wonderful we think the man is? Surely WE could do even that out of our personal budgets, right? Why are WE talking about what WE think that Mr. Trump should've given out of HIS money, when WE didn't give anything?

Before judging on him, shouldn’t we take a look at ourselves? It seems like that point it stressed every time we have communion.

Joslyn said...

Here's another example: I know a man who is from Oprah's hometown. He was walking around complaining that Oprah wasn't giving back to her home town in the way that he thought she should. So I asked a simple question:

What have YOU done for your home town?


That's the point.

Cynthia said...

It's not fair to put the average citizen who is barely earning enough to take care of their own families in the same vein as those who have FAR MORE in this society.

I'm sure that most of us who applaude this man's efforts would be more than willing to bless him in the manner that he deserves if we had the resources. To those who, more is required.

Joslyn said...

You're EXACLTY right, Cynthia.

But just because MORE is required from those who HAVE MORE, it doesn't mean that NOTHING is required from the rest of us.

The man from Oprah's city didn't have to give a million dollrs to "give back" to his city. He could volunteer, he could put his business there, he could find his own unique way of doing things.

My point is, we sit back and point fingers at those who have more but we never ask ourselves "Could we be doing more?" (refer back to Andre's post about New Orleans)

Is there SOMETHING that you could do?

Joslyn said...

Sorry, got cut off

Accountability is not ONLY for millionaires, it's for everyone.

The reason why Michael Moore is so effective is because, yeah sure, he complains and moans about America (Flint in particular) BUT he HAS AT LEAST TRIED to remedy the problem.

Megan said...

The reward discussion aside, this story reminds me of what happens when the deepest bowels of love, kindness, and goodness are made manifest. If this man had used his head and not his heart, he probably would've have jumped on those tracks and risked his life. But, the love in his heart (that I believe is of God) caused him to make that jump.

This is a beautiful story.

saved_sinner said...

For anyone who would like to contact Mayor Bloomberg to request more recognition for Mr. Autrey, here's the contact information:

Karen said...

What hits me the most is that Mr. Autrey did all of this in front of his daughters. I can only imagine what his daughters were thinking when they saw him jump down on the tracks. But I feel like they learned right then and there what it means to be a hero. They'll look up to him forever for that.

Dana said...

Mr. Autrey probably won't ever see this: but I want to personally thank him for being such a magnificent person. Words can't fully explain how important this man is to the world. To take the life of a stranger up in higher esteem than his own and HIS daughters says more than I ever could. His unselfish acts of kindness say more to love and compassion than money ever could.

It's because of him that I have a renewed respect for EVERYONE, strangers and kin alike.

Andre said...

@ Joslyn: I see your point. Goodness that we demonstrate to one another should cut across socio-economic status. A person doesn't have to be rich and well off to take care of others. How much do we do for others? How often do we visit the sick? Embrace those who are lonely? Minister to the bereaved? Sacrifice our comfort for the sake of others?

True, money is the great equalizer. But it's not the only way to minister...

@ Cyn: I get your point, also. I think that too many rich and affluent people sit on their fortune/success or don't do as much with it as they should. But (1) many of the most generous people in the world don't give EVERYTHING; so they can use what they have to create more for others and (2) even if they're selfish, that doesn't mean that we should be as well. Don't get me wrong: before we can serve others, we have to take care of ourselves. But we can 'serve' others in so many ways. I think that's Joslyn's point. Yes, Jos?

@ Megan: Well put. Even if this guy doesn't profess God, his willing, generous, and sacrificial spirit is NOTHING BUT GOD!

@ saved_sinner: Thanks for that email address. I just sent Mayor Bloomberg an email. This weekend, I'm going to try and find Mr. Autrey's home address and send him a card. If I can find it, I'll let you know.

@ Karen: Great point. I'm not sure what kind of father he is to his girls, but them seeing this is sure to leave an incredible and lasting impression on them.

This is further evidence that God put us on the earth for OTHER people.

@ Dana: Great message! You never know who's reading this...

Michelle said...

This is such an amazing story. I get chills everything I hear it.

The world really needs more Wesleys in the world to remind us of how great and loving human beings can be to one another.

Quick question: does anybody have his address? I REALLY need to send a letter.

Andre said...

I'm working on trying to find it. If I do, I'll either post it or I can email you directly...

Anonymous said...

What I like most about this guy is that he can affect people without deliberately tagging on people's emotions. Not like fools like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and John Kerry, and Rudy Gulliani, or those silly preachers. Unlike them, he actually makes a difference. For that, he deserves everything he can get. Where do I send my money?

Joslyn said...

Sorry for the lateness, Andre, but in response to what you said, yes that's the point that I was trying to make.

Saved Sinner: Thanks for the info. I think that maybe I'll send a little card or something (I'm not that creative. If anyone has a better idea, I'm all ears)

P.S. Andre, I GOTTA get you that DVD. I forgot to bring it with me this weekend. Maybe you can get it today, yes?

The H.C. said...

Hey Dre,
I also read that story, it had me almost in tears to realize that there is indead hope for mankind. Mr. Autrey is now my personal hero. His two young daughters have to be so proud of their dad. His humility about the whole thing was so refreshing when compared to people who want to be glorified for writing a song or throwing a ball. Great post!