An Air Force Academy cadet is being called a hero on Tuesday after his quick thinking on an early-morning subway commute saved a man's life.
C3C Cadet Garrett O'Hanlon was waiting for the subway with his sister on a birthday trip in New York City around 2:40 a.m. Sunday. He was standing at the platform when things went south.
"It was all normal subway commotion and the next thing you know it kind of went dead silent," said O'Hanlon. "Everyone kind of held their breath and we saw a man face planted on the tracks."
The next train was scheduled to approach in one minute. The 22-year-old said that's when instinct took over.
"It was just like one moment I was on the platform, the next I was on the tracks running for the guy," said O'Hanlon.
He tried pulling up the guy but he couldn't do it by himself. Two men jumped in to help pull the unconscious man to safety.
"The clock [was] running at zero minutes and the bystanders on the platform are grabbing our shirts, our coats, they're grabbing him," said O'Hanlon. "I don't know how long had passed but next thing you know, the train passed us by and I'm on the train."
He said people on the platform were patting him on the back and applauding him for his actions. And that hasn't stopped for O'Hanlon since Sunday.
"All my buddies are screaming, 'Hero! Hero!,'" said O'Hanlon.
O'Hanlon is a economics major and a manager on the Air Force Academy's lacrosse team. O'Hanlon said his friends, teammates and fellow cadets would have done the same thing.
"I don't think I'm a hero. Looking back on it and getting praise from everybody is really cool but there is some many cool things a lot of people do every day that they don't get recognized for that's way cooler," said O'Hanlon.
Head lacrosse coach Eric Seremet said O'Hanlon is a role model on the team. He said the student manager is a great student, a hard worker and a dedicated manager. He said while the incident on the subway surprised him, he's not surprised by O'Hanlon's reaction.
"I think what's really impressive about Garrett is he didn't think, he just reacted and that really goes to show where his heart is and the type of person he is," said Seremet.
O'Hanlon said he can't believe his small birthday trip to New York City created such a stir.
"I never would have guessed it would blow up to this but when it did it was kind of a huge wave," said O'Hanlon.
O'Hanlon's story gained national attention since Sunday. Seremet said O'Hanlon was invited to appear on "Good Morning America" but he turned it down because he had to go back to class.