Anthony Perry’s reaction was priceless once he realized he’d been gifted a car after he saved the life of a man who had fallen onto the electrified third rail of the CTA’s “L” tracks during a fight.
Philanthropist and local businessman Early Walker first pranked the 20-year-old by giving him a gas gift card first, knowing the young man didn’t have reliable transportation, before revealing the real surprise of a vehicle he’d purchased for him.
“We just wanted to honor you,” Walker said. “We wanted to literally show our appreciation because we need more people like you. We need more Anthonys in the world.”
Perry said he usually takes a 90-minute commute from the South Side to his job in Oak Lawn. But it just got easier with the unexpected gift of a 2008 AUDI A6.
The car was delivered to him just a few blocks from where he lives in the city’s Park Manor neighborhood as members of the community and officers from the Chicago Police Department’s 3rd District looked on in support.
“So many times people think these young men are out here doing the wrong thing, but this is just a prime example of how a young man took it upon himself to jump in and do the right thing,” Chicago Police Lt. Yolanda Irving said.
Perry got off at the CTA Red Line’s 69th Street stop when he noticed a nearly unconscious man on the electrified 3rd rail of the tracks. A bystander took video of Perry jumping down and pulling the man to safety without hesitation.
“I was hoping I could just grab him and not feel nothing, but I felt a little shock,” Perry said. “I felt it all though my body actually. I didn’t let that stop me.”
With the help of another commuter, Perry administered CPR, saving the man’s life.
Witness Tavi Ghee recorded the incredible incident after first seeing two men fighting on the platform.
“It was definitely surreal,” Ghee said. “It was like an out-of-body experience. That man could have lost his life, too.”
The CTA issued a statement that said, in part: “…Any customer witnessing a person on the tracks should also notify CTA personnel immediately, or call 911. They should never try to enter the right of way, or try to remove the person themselves, as they risk electrocution.”
The other man involved in the brawl hopped back on the platform and ran away. Chicago police are still looking for him.
“Our detectives are on the case, working to identity and get those photos out there and see if anybody can actually know who that particular person is,” Chicago Police Cmdr. Roderick Watson said.
The man who was electrocuted was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
Perry insists he’s not a hero, just someone who’s committed to doing the right thing.
“Good does win,” Perry said. “Good always wins!”
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