MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Two MTA workers were honored by the transit authority on Tuesday for their actions during an emergency service delay after a person was spotted on the tracks.
"Both Mandy and Tamika followed their training while also going above and beyond to make sure the customers onboard were informed," NYC Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said. "Their actions are emblematic of the NYC Transit workforce, who are always ready for any situation thrown their way."
On November 23, train operator Tamika Waller spotted an unauthorized person on the tracks near the L train First Avenue station in Manhattan and immediately called the Rail Control Center.
The RCC halted all Manhattan bound L trains and shortly after the person was spotted on the tracks near conductor Mandy Harford's train.
"I saw the passenger on the catwalk, and I immediately stopped, but he kept walking," Waller said. "I called it in like I was supposed to. I kept an eye on him, he somehow got out of our sight, winded up onto the next track, which was Mandy's train."
Power was then cut between the 8th Avenue and First Avenue platforms so police could access the tracks and reach the person.
Both Waller and Harford made attempts to get the person to board the train, and the passengers joined in the efforts.
Video footage shows Harford walking through the train cars assuring passengers that the police were notified and they'd be moving once the person was safely off the tracks.
"I wanted to make my presence feel more personal than professional," Harford said. "I wanted the passengers to know they were not alone. People can get anxious when their train is stopped, and I thought, if my loved ones were on this train, they would want the person-to-person communication to make them feel safe."
The overall hour-long delay could have been a much more grueling incident, but one passenger said the scene was calm thanks to the efforts of the MTA crew.
"Everyone was really calm, and people started chatting, being friendly, just showing that New York has this great spirit, where people in times of struggle can show how they can be friendly and communicative and helping each other," said Sean Yox, the passenger who shot the video. "And we really wanted to help Mandy because she really helped us be calm and had us going back home safely at the end of the day."
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