"I thought it was someone playing a practical joke, someone from the poll site. I didn't know. I was frozen," Stanley Denker said.
It was no joke. For Stanley Denker, it was anything but the start of a typical Election Day.
We caught up with Stanley and his wife, Maxine, as they left their Brooklyn apartment heading for Lower Manhattan on Tuesday.
The 73-year old retired sheet metal mechanic now works for the Board of Elections as a coordinator at polling sites.
He received a special proclamation today for what he did on Election Day - a man who puts his job before himself.
"You are the boss of that site. Anything goes wrong, it is blamed on the coordinator because you are suppose to oversee the site," he said.
Stanley left his home at 5:00 am November 2nd, focused on getting to work at a senior center.
He was about a block away when two men approached.
"All of a sudden someone grabbed me from behind the back, like a choke hold. They grabbed me by the neck like this," he said.
The suspects began punching him in the face. He tried to pull away but couldn't.
"He knocked me down on the floor and I said, 'What are you doing this for?' With that, he gave me a few more punches in the face and eyes," Denker said.
The men ran off with Stanley's wallet. His face was covered with blood.
A co-worker called police. Paramedics cleaned up Stanley and urged him to go to the hospital.
He refused saying he had a job to do.
Even though he was in a lot of pain, not once did Stanley consider leaving early that day. In fact, the polls close at 9:00 p.m. He insisted on staying until everything was done. He left here at midnight.
This gentle soul says he's like a locomotive pulling a train, without it the cars don't move. What's next? He laughs and whispers maybe a run for mayor.