Wesley Autrey

Acceptance Address for CNN Heroes 'Everyday Superhero' Award

CNN Air Date 9 December 2007

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Wouuow. Thank you. Thanks.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Wesley Autrey. What I did on January 2nd of this year, I want you all to know that I would do it all over again and -- and I truly believe that each and every person in this room and around the world would have done the same thing.

I spoke with Cameron and his mother on Thanksgiving Day, and Cameron is doing fine.

You know, when I was down on the tracks, I remember the sound of the horns. I remember the sparks around my head. I remember holding onto that man, saying, "Please don't push me, because if you do, I'm going to be the one that going to get it," 'cause I'm on top. And I told him something really simple with the train rolling over our head: "Don't move."

You know, the truth is what helped me to be able to focus on helping this man. There was two women; there was two remarkable ladies who held onto my daughters. And I would like to thank them tonight for -- for -- for doing that, and for taking such good care of my -- my daughters during that time. And that's a blessing for any father.

I also would like to thank everyone for the cards, the letters, the -- the scholarship, donations. It means so much to me and my daughters.

I'm a little nervous, you know. I had to get up today at 2:30 in the morning. You know? Okay.

I'm a construction worker, you know: Duty, duty, duty calls.

Okay, a couple months ago, I was at work, and a single father came up to me on the street, and he had his daughter with him. And he said, "Oh, you're the subway guy. I heard about you. You have two daughters. I got mines. You're struggling, too. And you're a hope for me."

And you know, that really, really touched me, because, you know, every day I walked the streets, and I see strangers and, you know, people just show me so much, so much love. And I see a change in New York. I see a change in New Yorkers' attitude, because I'm from the South, you know. We open our doors to you, you know what I mean? And I see people changing, and I see people helping each other.

And you know, let us -- let us do that. Let us -- let the soldiers who are fighting today, let them not die in vain with us not caring for each other here at home. It doesn't make sense.


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