Off-Duty TSA Worker A Hero After Saving Woman Who Fell On Subway Tracks
'I wasn't even thinking about putting myself in danger'
Transport Security Administration worker Eddie Palacios was on his way to work at Chicago's O'Hare Airport when the sound of screaming came from the subway platform. Commuters were yelling at a woman who had fallen onto the tracks to get out of the way, but Palacios, who was wearing a bright orange University of Illinois hoodie, jumped down to where the woman was lying and started waving his arms at the approaching train. Now, the off-duty TSA worker is being hailed as a hero.
The train stopped only 20 feet from the woman, before other commuters helped her back onto the platform. Palacio told DNAinfo Chicago, whose reporter Jon Hansen filmed the incident on his phone, that he initially thought it was a child who'd fallen onto the tracks.
"When I saw the train coming, the first thing I thought to myself was, 'Okay, I've got an orange hoodie on. They are bound to see me," he said.
The woman, who was unidentified, was hoisted back onto the platform by her hair. "I just slipped," she said, before breaking for the escalator. She was eventually stopped and loaded onto an ambulance.
Palacio joined the TSA shortly after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and credits his job training with teaching him how to act in the moment. "I wasn't even thinking about putting myself in danger because I work at TSA," he said. "They taught us a lot of things to do and how to act in situations, not to put ourselves in harm or put other people in harm."
After saving the woman, Palacio continued his commute to O'Hare, where he reported the incident to his superior and went on with his day as usual. He didn't tell anyone else about his heroism--not even his son--because he doesn't consider what he did heroic.
"As long as I was feeling good that I did something, I didn't think anybody needed to know," he said. "I didn't do it to brag about it or anything, because there was nothing to brag. I was just worried about the person more than anyone else."
Rita Sattler, the commuter who helped the woman off the tracks, thinks otherwise. "That man is really a hero. I don't think I could have stood on the tracks," she told DNAinfo.
Still, Palacio isn't exactly comfortable with that description. He prefers to think of what he did in more universal terms. "We're human, and we need each other," he said. "It's nice that people acknowledge, but I think it's nicer to know the young lady is fine, and it's nicer to know I had a small part. We all have a part in everybody's lives."