There is one nightmare that every New Yorker is terrified of experiencing: falling (or getting pushed) onto the subway tracks. For Cecil Williams, 61, that nightmare became a reality on Tuesday when he fainted while standing on the 125th street platform and fell down onto the tracks.
But, see, Cecil Williams is blind. So right after he fell, his service dog, Orlando, jumped right down on the tracks with him. A bystander told The New York Post, ”[Orlando] was kissing him, trying to get him to move.”
A Metropolitan Transit Authority worker rushed to the tracks and, once Cecil regained consciousness, told them both to lie down in the gap between the rails, as a train was coming.
An A train slowed down, but still passed over the two on the tracks; miraculously, neither Cecil nor his black Lab were injured by the train and Cecil only suffered a minor head injury from the fall. Both dog and man were soon rescued by the fire department.
The story has an even more happy twist: Cecil told reporters how at 11 years old, Orlando is ready to “retire” soon from being a seeing eye dog. Cecil’s health insurance covers the care of one seeing eye dog, but not a non-working dog. While recuperating in the hospital, Cecil told the AP that Orlando “saves my life on a daily basis.” He said he would be happy to keep Orlando in doggie “retirement,” but would probably not be able to afford to care for him.
The Internet responded accordingly: a GoFundMe campaign has raised almost $18,000 for Cecil to care for Orlando throughout his doggie “retirement.” A Washington, D.C. man named Mark Jacobson started the campaign because he said Orlando is a “hero” and deserves a happy retirement. He said he is working with the organization Guiding Eyes For The Blind, which provided Orlando to Cecil, to make sure he gets the funds. On their website, Guiding Eyes said:
We recognize everyone’s concern about Orlando’s future: whether he stays with Cecil or goes back to the loving home of his puppy raiser, please know he will be honored like the hero he is.
The group directed folks who want to help train other service dogs to send a donation to their organization.
Now that’s a heartwarming Christmas tale right there! Or shall I say “tail.”
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.