Manhole cover explosion smashes taxi windshield, Starbucks barista comes to the rescue

MIDTOWN (WABC) -- Monday night work crews returned to the spot where a man used to pulling shots of espresso wound up pulling two people from a wrecked taxi. In Manhattan, the taxi drove over a manhole at the very moment it exploded!

"Once I seen what happened I just did what came naturally," said Bernard Vickers, a Starbucks barista. "The manhole cover actually came up and it came up under the cab. It flattened the front tire and put a dent in the front corner of the car."

It happened at 6:30 Monday morning in front of a Starbucks at 44th and Lexington. Barista Bernard Vickers was stocking up on milk for the morning rush when he heard the explosion.

The force of the blast caused the sunroof in the so-called "Taxi of Tomorrow" to collapse onto the passenger inside. The doors were bent so badly, neither he nor the cabbie could get out on their own. Both of them, panicked.

"I saw glass from the sunroof inside the back seat, just made sure he was OK and got them out safely," Vickers said. "A great way to start off a Monday morning I don't think it can go anywhere from good from here."

But it could have been a lot worse. Both the cab driver and his passenger wound up at Bellevue with minor injuries.

Vickers says he'll be back behind the coffee bar Tuesday.

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