(NEW YORK) — The two good Samaritans who sprung into action to help save a 5-year-old girl after her father jumped in front of a subway while holding her were honored Wednesday for their heroism.
“Courage is the ability to do something even though you’re scared, even though you’re frightened,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said. “That is exactly what Jairo did. That is exactly what Antonyo did in assisting Jairo.”
Jairo Torres and Antonyo Love were declared the “Batman and Robin” of the Bronx and presented with certificates of merit.
“Just listening to their version, I am full of fear,” Diaz said at the ceremony. “And yet these two men acted — and whatever I’m feeling today — they felt at that moment a million times over. It is the true meaning of being a hero.”
“Here in the Bronx, we have Batman and Robin,” Diaz added.
The girl’s father had jumped in front of a No. 4 train at the Kingsbridge Station in the Bronx on Monday while he was holding her.
In cellphone footage of the little girl’s rescue, Torres and Love can be seen on the tracks coaxing her to come out from under the subway. She lowly crawled out from under the train and the men helped lift her up to the platform, where a crowd of witnesses embraced her.
While the girl managed to escape without serious injury, her dad, identified as Fernando Balbuena-Flores, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Torres, who witnessed the entire incident, said his first thoughts immediately went to the little girl.
“I jumped right away because I know where the baby is,” Torres said. “In my heart, I feel the baby is still alive.”
He said amidst the chaos, he didn’t realize until after that Love, who heard the commotion and ran up to the platform to help, was by his side on the tracks.
While Love was helping, someone stole his backpack that contained medication and other personal belongings, Diaz said. He urged whoever took it to return it, no questions asked.
Torres and Love did not know each other from before, but embraced at Wednesday’s press conference. Love appeared to be unable to speak about the incident.
Niurka Caraballo, who identified herself as the child’s mother, said Monday that she was planning on bringing her daughter home from the hospital later that day.
“Please respect my pain. Thank you for being there, thank you for having my back,” Caraballo told New York ABC station WABC in Spanish. “Thank you to the 52nd precinct; I’m home now and they’re still reaching out to make sure that I made it home OK, that I eat, that my daughter eats. Thank you, but please respect my pain.”
Diaz took a moment at the press conference to highlight that Torres is an immigrant and Love has health problems.
“People tend to vilify certain communities. People tend not to put their resources,” Diaz said. “People marginalize individuals in communities, but here in the Bronx — if it wasn’t for these two men working together — we would have had even more of a tragedy.”
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