What would you do in a moment of stress? I’m not talking about an instant where you feel overwhelmed with professional commitments or personal grievances.
I mean a point in time where split-second decisions count, where a moment of hesitation may mean the difference between life and death. Most of us would like to think that we would race to the rescue, ignoring the potential dangers.
But I’m not so sure. I freeze when I get asked a somewhat socially awkward question, so put someone’s existence on the line and I don’t know if I’d move so quickly.
Fortunately, Chicago resident Jessie Contreras didn’t have any such hesitations. On Oct. 29, WBBM reported that the barber was waiting at a Chicago Blue Line “L” stop, the Windy City’s rapid-transit train system.
Suddenly, he heard something that made his heart stop. It was the sickening thud of a body striking the tracks.
Looking down, Contreras saw an unmoving form splayed below the platform. It was a man, and he didn’t seem to be conscious.
So Contreras did the only thing he could think to do: He jumped down onto the tracks to pick him up.
Understand that this wasn’t what you’d call a safe move. According to Block Club Chicago, the particular train that Contreras was waiting for arrives every five minutes.
What’s more, the man lay only two feet from an electrified rail, and touching it would’ve meant certain death. Yet Contreras didn’t hesitate.
— Block Club Chicago (@BlockClubCHI) October 31, 2018
“I was afraid for his life,” he explained. “He wasn’t going to be able to help himself.”
Hauling the man by the lapels of his jacket, Contreras managed to lug him to the edge of the platform. Bystanders helped pull him to safety.
The man’s ear was badly split, and he was unconscious. By the time paramedics arrived, he’d come to.
However, he seemed confused and unaware of what had happened. Authorities would later say that he’d been “under some type of influence at the time of the incident.”
For his part, Contreras said he was just doing what needed to be done. “It’s my duty to help whenever possible,” he said.
“That was my moment, so I acted. For me personally, it was a God moment.”
He also added, “For me, it was just a no-brainer, just-do-it kind of situation.
“The consequences would be determined by someone who was bigger than me, to be honest. I would hope other people with a similar mindset would do the same thing.”
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