In a tweet posted on Wednesday, the MTA thanked Rikien Wilder for his actions, writing, "We love to see New Yorkers taking care of one another"

By Nicholas Rice
September 24, 2020 10:56 AM
Credit: NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority Twitter

A modern-day hero!

Manhattan resident Rikien Wilder was honored by the MTA with a giant novelty MetroCard and a year of free subway and bus rides for his heroic actions after he apprehended a man responsible for causing a subway derailment.

Wilder, 44, was at the 14th street station in New York City on Sunday morning when he saw a man placing debris on the tracks to cause a derailment, according to an MTA press release. Realizing a large incident could occur from the placement of the scrap, Wilder jumped down onto the track to grab the debris just before the train arrived safely in the station.

But after he went to notify MTA personnel within the station, Wilder saw the same man once again putting more debris on a track, which later caused a northbound A train to derail, the release said.

Wilder then chased the suspect down as he began to leave the scene and held him in place until authorities arrived later on, where he was captured and placed under arrest.

Rikien Wilder
| Credit: NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority Twitter

"New Yorkers are known for putting others ahead of themselves, and that's exactly what Rikien Wilder did," Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO, said. "While we don't want members of the public placing themselves in danger by jumping onto the tracks, this brave Good Samaritan is a hero three times over - for removing debris, alerting personnel, and making sure the alleged perpetrator could not get away before police arrived. He truly exemplifies the best of New York."

NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg echoed Foye's statement, and said, "Rikien Wilder’s actions to ensure this suspect could not repeat the heinous crime somewhere else likely saved the lives of fellow New Yorkers, something you cannot put a price on."

She then added that with Wilder's birthday coming up next month, she and her team thought that the best way to thank him for his actions was to award him with a year of free unlimited subway and bus rides.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

According to the news release, all 135 passengers on board the derailed train disembarked without injuries, and emergency response crews from NYC Transit worked through the night to repair and replace hundreds of feet of damage to the tracks.

Noting that he decided to take action after his "adrenaline kicked in," Wilder said that he didn't want the perpetrator to get away and potentially cause harm at other stations across the area.

"When something happens in New York, you watch the news and the guy gets away, you have some dark snapshot from a camera and you never catch the guy," he said. "So I made it my point that if I were to come across something or someone, I'm going to do something."

In a tweet posted on Wednesday, the MTA thanked Wilder for his actions, writing, "We love to see New Yorkers taking care of one another."

According to AM New York Metro, Wilder also attributed his heroic action to his positive upbringing by his mother.

“My mother always encouraged me to look out for people in the neighborhood so it was kind of a natural thing for me to respond to the guy on the subway like I did," he said, according to the outlet.

The publication also notes that the perpetrator, who has been identified as Demetrius Harvard, has since been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespass.