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Hopeton Kiffin, 51, sprang into action on Thursday when he saw a boy had wandered onto the dangerous train tracks

By Char Adams
April 05, 2019 11:27 AM
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Credit: Transport Workers Union/Twitter

A New York subway operator is being hailed as a hero for rescuing a 12-year-old boy who wandered onto train tracks in a Brooklyn station Thursday morning.

Hopeton Kiffin was moving a Manhattan-bound 5 train through Hoyt Street Station around 9:15 a.m. when he spotted something out of the ordinary: a young boy in a red shirt on the tracks ahead of him, according to AM New York. Kiffin, 51, slowed down the train and sprang into action.

“Just doing my duty, you know?” Kiffin told AM New York. “I’m a father; I’m an uncle; I’m a son. I just wanted to go down there and try to protect him and make sure nothing happened to him.”

Just moments earlier, a rider used the Help Point system to notify the rail control center, according to AM New York. But, by then, Kiffin was already on the move.

The boy — who has autism, according to the transit workers union, TWU Local 100 — managed to make his way over the charged rail and wedge himself between the columns, according to the New York Times.

Kiffin jumped out of the cab and approached the boy, who stood silently clapping his hands, the Times reported. Kiffin offered the boy his hand and led him to safety on the train.

“I’ve seen strange things, adults walking on the tracks — once I saw a guy who was on there walking to the next station — but this one, with the child standing there, I was taken aback,” Kiffin told the Times.

Officials with the New York City Transit Authority tweeted about the incident, noting that Kiffin drove the boy to Borough Hall where police were able to reunite him with his family.

“All of us at New York City Transit could not be prouder of our colleagues for their quick thinking and compassion in a stressful situation,” officials said. “We’re so glad that the boy is safe and sound, and we commend the customer who reported the situation.”

Kiffin has been a train operator for at least 13 years, according to the Times. And although he has received praise for his act, Kiffin said he only did what he was supposed to.

“I feel I did my job,” he told the Times.