Top NYC Transit officials today honored the heroic efforts of two Transit employees who helped save the life of a customer at the Jay Street – MetroTech station on Tuesday, September 08, 2020.
Both employees — Roberto Ritcher, a structure maintainer who has worked for NYC Transit for 27 years, and Cha-Nikka Cheatham, an NYC Transit station cleaner who joined the agency last year– were joined by NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg and Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer at the station today to be commended for their bravery. Ritcher, who descended onto the tracks to save the customer, received a subway-themed poster with the message “Hero of the Subway Roberto Ritcher”.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have said that transit workers are heroes, and this is another example of that heroism,” said Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit Interim President. “The actions of Roberto and Cha-Nikka are such a reflection of our workforce, that we have folks going on 30 years, doing this work day in and day out, and then a brand new person who knows exactly what to do and jumps in.”
“Our coworkers perform acts of heroism every day that sometimes goes unnoticed,” said Sarah Meyer, NYC Transit Chief Customer Officer. “Whether it is disinfecting trains and stations around the clock, helping pass out masks or simply getting New Yorkers around the city, our frontline employees go above and beyond.”
The incident happened around noon on Tuesday afternoon at the Jay Street – MetroTech station. A customer lost his footing and tumbled off the Manhattan-bound platform, hitting his head on the tracks. Ritcher and a Good Samaritan rider leapt into action to rescue the customer off the tracks, seconds before a train rolled into the station. Cheatham immediately notified supervision to call first responders, and rushed over to help assist the customer on the platform before firefighters arrived to provide aid.
Yesterday’s incident continues a tradition of Transit workers acting heroically to help fellow New Yorkers. In March, train operator Garrett Goble gave his life in the course of evacuating riders off a train after an arsonist started a fire inside a train car. Last summer Anthony Mannino, a signal maintainer, and Larry Moreno, a train operator, helped save the life of a customer on tracks at Newkirk Plaza Station on the line.