The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Watch the ‘miracle on Market Street’: Good Samaritans whisk woman, 89, from path of onrushing train

Passersby in Saddle Brook, N.J., ran to help an 89-year-old woman avoid an onrushing train headed her way. (Video: Daily Voice Bergen County)

When Jonathan Mango pulled out of the Taco Bell parking lot Wednesday afternoon in Saddle Brook, N.J., he didn’t know his next move would save a life.

The 28-year-old, listening to his radio in his idling car, was watching across the dashboard as an 89-year-old woman — a cane in each hand — hobbled slowly across the train tracks that stretch along the edge of town.

Then Mango watched as the red light before the tracks began to flash, warning those who could see it that a train was fast approaching. But the elderly woman had long passed it.

It was when the safety gates on either side of her began to descend that Mango sprang into action.

“No!” he can be heard saying on dashboard camera footage recorded from inside his vehicle.

The video shows him darting out of the car, ducking beneath the lowered gate and running onto the train tracks, where he urges the woman along. Another man rushes to help, and the three manage to reach safety just as the New Jersey Transit commuter train barrels past, horn blasting.

Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler called the good Samaritan rescue “the miracle on Market Street,” reported News 12 New Jersey.

“It proves to me that our society is full of good people,” Kugler told the TV station, “and for whatever reason yesterday, God put Jonathan on Market Street in Saddle Brook to witness this and save this woman from death.”

The other man left before authorities arrived on the scene and remains unidentified, the chief told the Daily Voice. Medics came to treat the woman, whom Kugler said was startled but uninjured. Mango told News 12 the woman, who didn’t speak English, resisted his help at first as if she feared he was trying to harm her.

“The woman is always walking through our community and in all types of weather conditions, attracting many to gaze and many others to offer assistance,” Kugler said in a statement, reported CBS News. “She certainly had the angels watching over her today. These two individuals, angels themselves without a doubt, saved her from a near disaster.”

Authorities also credited the train conductor, who saw the rescue effort as he approached and applied the emergency brake and slowed the train, providing the extra seconds Mango and the other good Samaritan needed to bring the woman to safety, News 12 reported.

Authorities called Mango’s employer, reported CBS, to praise his actions, but the 28-year-old said they weren’t heroic.

“Just an ordinary Wednesday,” he said.

More from Morning Mix

Judge resigns over rape trial comment: ‘Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?’

A Mendelssohn masterpiece was really his sister’s. After 188 years, it premiered under her name.

‘The cries that many heard but nobody heeded’: Blaze in troubled Guatemalan ‘safe home’ kills 22 teenage girls