In a swift miscarriage of justice, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority viewed the actions he took to help the trainee as dangerous, and they suspended the subway motorman without pay.
According to local media outlets, 59-year-old Quincy Calhoun was training a motorman on the No. 5 train in April when the student suddenly collapsed after feeling chest pain. Before he collapsed, the trainee had gone through a red-stop signal, which caused the train’s emergency brakes to activate.
Calhoun immediately tried to reach out to the MTA’s Rail Communication Center, but could not get through because he and the trainee were in a dead zone. That was when the veteran MTA worker, who has been with the agency since 1989, said he made the only decision he thought he could make.
“I was only trying to do the right thing by that gentleman who was laying in that cab,” Calhoun said. “That’s what I was thinking about. All I know is when you grab your chest and slump to the floor, it isn’t a good sign.”
And so Calhoun went onto the tracks to disable the red-light-signal mechanism so that the train would continue on.
“All I was thinking about was getting this guy medical help,” Calhoun recalled.
He pulled into the next station going less than 10 mph and the trainee was rushed to Jacobi Hospital shortly thereafter.
However, the MTA slammed the act of desperation as unsafe and pulled Calhoun from passenger service, and to add insult to injury, Calhoun was suspended without pay.
“Even all this stuff started coming down at me, I didn’t feel bad because I knew I had done the right thing,” he said.
Kevin Harrington, vice president of rail traffic operations for the Transport Workers Union Local 100 told the Post that Calhoun’s was the “most outrageous case in my union career,” calling the MTA’s response “an all-time low.”
“The Transit Authority is being absolutely unreasonable, and it shows their contempt for human life, particularly their employees,” Harrington added.
However, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz insisted that Calhoun did not employ proper protocol to execute the maneuver used to get the train moving.
After all, everyone knows that getting the train moving is WAY more important than saving a life!...