Anyone who rides the New York City subway system daily can say they’ve pretty much seen it all. In the case of 26-year-old Jessamine Irwine, that also included an unforgettable sighting — an 11-year-old being attacked by an adult stranger as most of the other passengers sat oblivious to danger unfolding beside them.
The adjunct professor works at New York University as well as as Fordham University in the Bronx, a location where the French language specialist was coming from on the green line express 4 train, which was at 59th street in midtown east when a loud slam against the door caught jarred her attention.
She explained to The New York Times:
“One guy, the bigger one, had picked up the other guy and pinned him to the door, very hard,” Ms. Irwin said. “I saw the bigger guy — call him the assailant — turn really fast.”
“I thought he had thrown the victim off the train — it was moving really fast, because it was an express train,” she said. “For a moment, I thought, oh my God. Then I see that he’s actually shaking the victim over the low-hanging-bar-rope things between cars.”
She called out to other passengers. “I said: ‘What’s happening! What’s happening!’ — trying to get attention.”
Incredibly, none of the other passengers were interested in getting involved. “I saw the guy bring the victim to the other side, and he was shaking him over that guard rail,” Ms. Irwin said. “We were getting really close to the next stop, 42nd Street. I honestly can’t remember what I thought next. I saw him turn again.”
So this hero, seized the moment and nabbed the young boy from the stranger by opening the car door.
According to New York City detective Kallyann Ort, a police spokeswoman, the young man was turned over to officers by Irwin.
The child and friend were “play-fighting” when the young boy accidentally hit him, spokeswoman stated, the man who had been struck asked the boy, “‘Did you see that?’ and when he says no, the man grabs him.”