If you live in New York City, or any city that has subway tracks, you know the terror that runs through your body as you feel yourself getting dangerously close to the edge and contemplate the thought of falling. 61 year old Cecil Williams experienced that nightmare this past Tuesday after he lost consciousness on the 125th street A/B/C/D platform in Harlem, slipping and falling onto the tracks.
But Cecil, a diabetic who was on his way to the dentist, wasn’t alone. Williams is blind and right after he fell his service dog, Orlando, jumped down after him. A bystander told The New York Post that Orlando was “kissing him, trying to get him to move.”
An Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) worker ran out and told Cecil and Orland to lay flat in a trench between the rails as the “A” train passed over them.
While it may seem like Orlando was slacking on his job, Cecil says it was the exact opposite. In an interview with the Associated Press, an emotional Cecil said Orlando “tried to hold [him] up.”
Cecil regained consciousness on the tracks, emergency workers pulled him up and he was taken to the hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery, with Orlando by his side.
Cecil says, “I’m feeling amazed. I feel that God, the powers that be, have something in store for me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.”
Orlando, whom Cecil described as serious but laid back, was making new friends at the hospital. He says he’ll be rewarded with a special treat, affection and lots of scratches behind his ears.
Cecil says this is not the first time Orlando has come through for him. “[He] gets me around and saves my life on a daily basis.”
Cecil, who has been blind since 1995, says Orlando is his second service dog. On January 5, he’ll be 11 years old and will be retiring. Cecil’s medical benefits will cover the cost of new service dog but will not pay for him to keep a nonworking one.
He said if he had the money, he would definitely keep him.
Well, Mark Jacobson, a man from Washington D.C., started a GoFundMe pledge to raise enough money for Cecil to be able to keep Orlando. With an initial goal of $16,000, the campaign has far exceeded that by raising nearly $42,000 in just two days. Jacbson partnered with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the organization that gave Orlando to Cecil, to make sure he actually receives the money.
You can check out Cecil describing the incident and expressing his gratitude for Orlando and those who gave in the video below.