A small boy is holding his mother’s hand as they make their way across a railway platform. Weighed down by a heavy burden on her back and hampered by limited vision, she loses her grip. The child tumbles onto the tracks just as an approaching train barrels toward the station.
But in the blink of an eye, a hero swoops in, scoops the child to safety, hoists himself onto the platform a split-second before the locomotive thunders past, and a tragedy is averted.
If you’re thinking the man who saved the day in this scenario might be Clark Kent’s alter-ego, think again because this was a series of events that recently played out in real life at India’s Vangani station about 60 miles out of Mumbai.
When railway worker Mayur Shelke saw the 6-year-old boy fall into the path of the oncoming train, instinct took over. “I ran towards the child but also thought that I might be in danger too. Still, I thought I should save him,” Shelke told Asian News International. “The woman (with the child) was visually impaired. She could do nothing.”
A new father himself, Shelke felt impelled to act. “The child who [slipped and fell] is someone’s precious child, too,” he told Times Now News. My child is the apple of my eye, so must that boy in peril have been to his parents. I just felt something stir within me and I rushed without thinking twice.”
The entire remarkable incident might have gone unremarked—except that the whole thing was caught on CCTV. (Shelke reports he hadn’t even mentioned it at home fearing he’d be scolded for putting himself in harm’s way.) In a matter of days, the viral video took the Internet by storm.
The railway employee’s quick reflexes and willingness to act in the face of grave personal danger quickly earned him much well-deserved praise. After being feted in a congratulatory ceremony, Shelke was awarded a ₹50,000 ($660) honorarium by the Ministry of Railways.
He was also gifted with a motorbike courtesy of Jawa Motorcycles as a token of their esteem. “Mayur Shelke’s courage has the Jawa Motorcycles family in awe,” tweeted company CEO Anupam Thareja. “Humbled by his act of exemplary bravery, truly the stuff of legends.”
One of the country’s leading industrialists, Anand Mahindra, CEO of the Mumbai-based global conglomerate Mahindra Group was likewise impressed. “Mayur Shelke didn’t have a costume or cape, but he showed more courage than the bravest movie Superhero,” Mahindra tweeted.
“In difficult times, Mayur has shown us that we just have to look around us for everyday people who show us the way to a better world.”
(WATCH the BBC’s footage of the daring rescue below.)
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