The public has been rallying around New York subway hero Delroy Simmonds after the unemployed father of two saved a baby in a stroller from an oncoming subway train. Simmonds wound up missing a much-needed job interview, and supporters are hoping someone with a big heart will reward him with a job for his selfless act.
Shrugging of compliments of being a hero, 30-year-old Simmonds told the New York Daily News, which first broke the story Tuesday, that he simply did what he hopes anyone would have done.
"Everybody is making me out to be some sort of superhero," the father of two told the Daily News in a follow-up report. "I'm just a normal person. Anybody in that situation should have done what I did."
Simmonds, who was laid off as a vocational trainer for the mentally disabled about a year ago, watched as a gust of wind lifted and carried a nine-month-old child in a stroller onto the tracks of the oncoming J train at the Van Siclen Ave. subway station in the NYC borough of Brooklyn early Tuesday afternoon.
The child's own mother, and others on the elevated platform, stood stunned as the toddler, still strapped to his stroller, appeared injured on the tracks.
Without thinking, according to Simmonds, he immediately jumped onto the tracks and pulled the bleeding and frightened child to safety – all while the train barreled toward them, horn blaring.
"I jumped down and I snatched the baby up," Simmonds told the Daily News. "The train was coming around the corner as I lifted the baby from the tracks. I really wasn't thinking."
He added, explaining why he took action, "It was the fatherly instinct. I have two daughters of my own – 8 and 5. I was being a father. I would have done it for any baby."
The nine-month-old child was treated for cuts on his head. Simmonds, however, missed his appointment for a job interview for a maintenance position at a warehouse.
As word spread of the Good Samaritan's selfless act, readers of his story immediately started expressing hope that Simmonds would be rewarded with a job.
"If we live in a world where a bus monitor is rewarded with $660,000 just for being mocked but an unemployed man can't even get a job offer after risking his own life to save a baby, well, that world kind of sucks," wrote Dan Amira at New York magazine. "We don't know a lot about Simmonds's qualifications other than that he saved a baby, but so what? If we were Simmonds, that would be the first bullet point on our résumé. 'Saved baby from subway tracks, June 2012.' What more do you need to know?"
"It's unanimous. Delroy Simmonds should be employed by the end of the day. Make it happen," tweeted Tracy Connor (@NYDNTracyConnor), who contributed to the Daily News report.
Connor previously revealed on Twitter that the publication had been receiving numerous emails lauding Simmonds's act, adding, "One cash offer. One job lead."
Other observers expected that Simmonds would be employed by the end of the week.
Simmonds's heroic deed has been compared to that of another New Yorker who saved a commuter from an oncoming train.
Wesley Autrey, dubbed "Subway Superman," was commended in 2007 by the City of New York as well as President George W. Bush for leaping into the path of an oncoming subway train to pull Cameron Hollopeter to safety.
CBS New York spoke with Autrey in February, on the fifth anniversary of the incident, and said he had no regrets, despite not taking advantage of the celebrity status his act brought him.
"You know, I'm glad I did what I did and I wouldn't change that day. I wouldn't change me. I'm still always about helping people. I could've taken this to a whole different level and became an actor or singer or something, but I think God has a calling for me," he said.