Actor Plays Subway Hero in Real Life

One of my pet peeves is how the word “hero” is overused. Tom Cruise is labeled a hero because he helps tow a woman’s car out of a snow bank or stops for an injured woman on the street and takes her to the hospital. That’s all very decent of him but it falls more under the label of Good Samaritan because he did not risk his life to do those things.

This past Monday, Chad Lindsey earned the hero title when he risked death to save a fellow man who had fallen onto the tracks of a New York subway. The other man had hit his head and was unconscious and bleeding. Lindsey jumped down, lifted him up and, with the help of other commuters, managed to get both the man and himself out “10 or 15 seconds” before the next train came. (Read more about it in the NY Times.)

As if this wasn’t incredible enough, Lindsey wanted no attention or accolades for his action. He simply caught another train and went on his way. In this age of reality TV where people want you to watch them fight about who takes out the trash (how about we take out all of them?), this man wanted to remain anonymous after doing something that’s truly dramatic (his identity was given to the media by a friend). And he’s an actor to boot! Who said actors are all attention whores?

The main reason I find this story captivating is because I’ve always believed that people should do the right thing simply because it’s right, not because of what they might get out of it. Too often, people expect something for their good deeds. I recently read a letter in an advice column from a woman who was upset because she had returned someone’s wallet and didn’t get much more than a “thank you.” Did she want a reward? A medal? A key to the city? If she’d known ahead of time that she wouldn’t be rewarded, would she have just left the wallet where she found it or, worse, kept it and the money inside? The advice columnist told her that she did the right thing and that knowledge should be enough.

And that’s exactly why I respect Lindsey for what he did. He could’ve totally pimped himself to the media since the attention might’ve gotten him a job but he chose not to. So I’ll do it for him (no, I don’t know him and nobody paid me to do this).

This is Lindsey’s headshot and demo reel. There are lots of superhero movies being made in Hollywood. Why not cast someone who’s got real-life experience?



  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Well said! I agree how the word “hero” is abused not only in this country but also back home in Australia. It’s appalling that people revere sports and film celebrities when they’ve done nothing to help anyone anywhere anytime – let alone risk their lives.
    I applaud your efforts to reward Chad Lindsey in this way….he is a real hero and you are an angel.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Theresa,

      I’m certainly no angel 🙂 but thank you for your very kind words. I’m happy to hear from someone who feels the same way about “hero” abuse!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    What a man! Thanks for sharing the story, PCN. What a spontaneous act of utter selflessness from a genuinely gutsy person. {Thank God he was able to get them both off the tracks and keep his gutsies inside where they should be.} And to quietly slip away ~ that is true dignity and class.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm

      I agree on every point, ShelleyP. Sometimes I can get cynical so it’s inspiring to hear stories like this.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I guess there are still good people among us.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I would much rather see him on tv than another reality show “star”.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I agree, he seems to be much more a hero than we’ve seen out there lately.

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