Greg Wetzel, 40, was waiting for the subway with his three young children on Saturday when he saw an unconscious woman on the tracks.
"I had to make a bit of a decision. The sign said three minutes, when I looked up again 'two minutes.' I had to make a decision and I quickly assessed the risks," Wetzel told ABC News.
Without hesitation, he jumped onto the tracks, hoisting the woman back onto the platform with the help of other onlookers, just seconds before the subway roared into the West 72nd Street station.
"I guess it's mildly ironic — to do the exact opposite of what I'm preaching," Wetzel told the NY Daily News.
Wetzel had been repeatedly going over subway safety protocol with his kids, ages 4, 6 and 7, before spotting the woman.
"It was just the right thing to do," he said of his daring decision. "If you see someone on the tracks, it's hard not to do something."
One witness, Trish O'Sullivan, praised the dad's quick response to the situation:
"He didn't hesitate," she said. "The guy was really amazing. This guy was like a real hero."
The woman, 50, was taken to Roosevelt Hospital. Her condition is unknown.
Wetzel says his safety instructions to his kids were likely reinforced by the dramatic incident.