Train Operator Acts Fast; Saves Boy on Tracks

APRIL 4 -- A Local 100 Train Operator rescued a young boy who wandered onto the very dangerous subway tracks in Brooklyn Thursday morning. Train Operator Hopeton Kiffin was heading through the Hoyt St. (2/3) station on an express track when something out of the ordinary caught his eye at approximately 9:15 a.m. “I see a slight red flash, and I slowed the train down,” Kiffin said. “As a Train Operator, you always have to be aware. I saw a customer on the platform pointing to the tracks, so that confirmed that something was wrong.”

To his amazement, Kiffin, 51, said he saw a boy, about 12 years old, wearing a red sweater or jacket standing between two pillars. The boy was in a narrow area separating the northbound express and local tracks. There are four parallel tracks in the station.

“I was taken aback. I was like, “What is he doing there?,” Kiffin said. Kiffin alerted the Rail Control Center and then exited the No. 5 train to approach the boy. “He was clapping his hands,” Kiffin said. “He wasn’t afraid. There was no fear. I guided him to the train, got him on board.” Kiffin took the boy to the next station, Borough Hall, and handed him over to the NYPD Transit Bureau.

“This could have been a terrible tragedy if not for the alertness and professionalism of our Train Operator,” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “You can never relax when you are operating a subway train. You have to be alert for anything out of place. This story has a happy ending only because this Operator spotted this child and managed to get him to safety.”

At about the time Kiffin’s train was entering the station, a rider who observed the boy on the tracks used a Help Point intercom to alert the Station Agent. The Station Agent informed the RCC, which put out an alert to train crews in the area. Numerous television stations wanted to interview Kiffin, but he didn’t want to be in the spotlight. “It’s just part of my job,” he said. “I’m just glad everything turned out well.”