It’s a Christmas miracle! On Tuesday 17th December a blind man fell faint onto the subway tracks at 125th Street Station in New York. His guide dog, a 10-year-old black Labrador named Orlando, jumped onto the tracks with his master and started barking to attract attention of nearby passengers who were able to warn a oncoming train to slow down.
Cecil Williams, 61, was on his way to the dentist at 9.30 am when this happened. Orlando managed to wake Cecil by licking his face and they were both able to duck into the middle trench between the tracks.
‘The dog saved my life,’ said Williams from his St. Luke’s Hospital bed where he is also coming to terms with the fact that his health insurance will not cover the cost of keeping Orlando when he retires next year as a non-working dog.
‘He tried to hold me up.’
‘But there was nothing he could do once he was down there. He just sat there with the man. He licked Cecil’s face trying to get him to move,’ said Quinones.
As horrified commuters watched an employee of the MTA shouted down to Cecil who by now was sitting upright on the tracks not to move and to lie down in the trench between the tracks.
The oncoming train, whose driver had seen the two slammed its breaks on and then rolled two carts over Orlando and Cecil.
The train’s motorman slowed the subway cars while witness called for help. Cecil and Orlando were not struck by the train and only Cecil suffered a gash to his head – presumably from the fall.
Cecil said he was astonished by the help from emergency crews and bystanders on the platform.
‘Everyone was screaming, everyone was shaking in horror. We heard someone on the other side scream he’s fine, he’s alive!’ said student Ashley Prenza to the New York Post.
‘It was a big relief for everyone.’
FDNY Capt. Danny O’Sullivan, a 17-year FDNY veteran told the New York Daily News someone must have been watching out for Williams and Orlando.
‘We checked out under the train and found that he was not trapped; he was just in between the rails’
‘It must have been a lucky day for him. This definitely is a miracle.’
Thankful: ‘The dog saved my life,’ Williams said, his voice breaking at times
As Williams regained consciousness, he heard someone telling him to be still. Emergency workers put him on a stretcher and pulled him from the subway, and made sure the dog was not badly injured.
‘I’m feeling amazed,’ Williams said. ‘I feel that God, the powers that be, have something in store from me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.’
Police said both Williams and the dog were taken to a hospital where they are expected to recover. Williams says he is not sure why he lost consciousness, but he is on insulin and other medications.
Orlando, a seriously laid-back dog, was at the hospital making new friends — and he will be rewarded with some type of special treat, Williams said, and will be given plenty of affection and scratches behind the ears.
Williams, of Brooklyn, has been blind since 1995, and Orlando is his second dog. The lab will be 11 on Jan. 5, and will be retiring soon, Williams said. His health insurance will not cover the cost of a non-working dog, so he will be looking for a good home for him.
If he had the money, Williams said, ‘I would definitely keep him.’
Story and pictures from The Daily Mail.