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An East Harlem man was being hailed as a subway hero for pulling a straphanger off the tracks Sunday, saving him from being crushed by a train.
Lifesaver Carlos Flores, 36, said a combination of benevolence and not wanting to miss an overtime shift at his grocery store job prompted his derring-do.
“I was thinking, if he gets hit I can’t go to work. It’s Sunday. I can’t miss out. It’s a time-and-a-half day,” Flores told the Daily News.
The heroic feat unfolded about 8 a.m. as Flores was waiting for a downtown No. 6 train at a crowded E. 103rd St. station.
Flores, a produce clerk at a NoHo grocery store, was thinking about the $19-an-hour shift ahead of him when an elderly man yelled for help, pointing to a man dazed and sprawled on the tracks.
Bystanders were yelling at the man to “Get up!” warning, “The train is coming” and “You’re going to get hit.”
When the man in peril failed to stir, Flores noticed the digital sign on the platform showing the next downtown train arriving in three minutes.
“That’s a good thing,” said Flores, figuring he had just enough time to jump down on the tracks, make the rescue and still get to work on time.
Once he reached the 6-foot-tall, 220-pound man, the 5-foot-7, 180-pound Flores realized his plan wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought.
“I jumped on the tracks. I grabbed him. I stood him up,” Flores said. “I’m walking him toward the platform. A guy on the platform grabs his hands. Now I’m down there. The train is coming.”
Flores said he could see the lights of the train and hear its brakes squealing as it rumbled into the station.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my god!’ ” said Flores, the father of a 10-year-old son.
NYC Transit spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said unbeknown to Flores, a customer had notified the station agent of the emergency. The station agent radioed the Rail Control Center in the nick of time to get the conductor to halt the train just as it nosed into the station.
“[The] train operator did see someone on the tracks,” Parker said. “The customer [Flores] did help bring that person to the platform.”
Parker said the rescued man, whose name was not immediately released, had apparently fainted. He was taken to Harlem Hospital.
“We are glad that everything worked out well this time,” said Carmen Bianco, NYC Transit senior vice president for subways, cautioning that “we discourage anyone from jumping to the roadbed.”
A Fire Department source said the man tumbled onto the tracks after apparently suffering a seizure.
Flores said he didn’t wait around to get the full story, jumping on the same No. 6 train that had briefly stopped for the rescue.