John O’Connor didn’t hesitate to save a man’s life as a train approached at a BART station in Oakland
Irish American John O’Connor is being hailed as a hero after he quickly rescued a man who had fallen onto the train tracks at a BART station in Oakland, California.
Security camera footage (which you can watch below) shows O’Connor rushing to pull a man to safety after he had stumbled onto the tracks as a train was approaching at Coliseum Station on November 3.
O’Connor, who has been a Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) employee for 24 years, was on duty helping control the crowds that were attending the Oakland Raiders game that afternoon.
Speaking with the media after his heroic rescue, O’Connor said: "It seemed a lot slower than it actually happened (on video).
"He came to the side, I figured he wasn't going to make it so I grabbed him and pulled him up to the platform. That's what we do. We got foreworkers, train operators, station agents who deal with this on a daily basis. We preach safety, and we practice it.
"There really was no time to make a decision," O'Connor said. "I just looked and it just happened. It's really awkward to be called a hero. That's what we're supposed to do. We're all human beings and life is precious."
A station manager came to look after the man before he was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation. Later, O'Connor retrieved the man's cellphone which had also fallen on to the tracks.
A touching video of O’Connor and the man he saved embracing after the incident was shared on Twitter:
Tonight we are thankful for John.— SFBART (@SFBART) November 4, 2019
He’s a former Train Operator who was promoted to Transportation Supervisor. He was working the Coliseum Station for the Raiders game and saw someone on the platform who needed help. He saved a life tonight.
Thank you John.
Show him some love. https://t.co/BIb5NMdZFj
"We have procedures that we get trained on and follow on a daily basis," said O'Connor. "It's second nature for a lot of us. You don't come to BART for a job and then just walk away. Very few do. They say BART family, and that's actually the truth. I've been here for 24 years, and there are a lot of good people here.
"A lot of times, people see us and they don't understand what we're doing and what we're going through but when something like this goes down, we rise to the occasion," added O'Connor.
"Whether it's the '89 (Loma Prieta) Earthquake, the Giants World Series, you name it, BART's been here for the Bay Area, and what we do is we try to get people where they need to be."
You can watch John O’Connor’s heroic deed here: