A good Samaritan who helped authorities arrest a man who derailed a New York City subway train is getting free rides for a year for his "heroic actions."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority honored Rikien Wilder, 44, on Wednesday after he chased down a suspect on a Manhattan subway platform and removed debris from the track on Sunday.
"New Yorkers are known for putting others ahead of themselves, and that's exactly what Rikien Wilder did," Patrick Foye, MTA chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Wilder was gifted a year of unlimited rides on MTA's subway and buses "as recognition for his bravery," the MTA said.
No one was seriously injured in the trail derailment on Sunday with 135 passengers onboard, and Foye credited Wilder's quick thinking in removing the initial debris with potentially helping save lives.
"I never really considered myself a hero," Wilder told reporters Wednesday. He said his parents always taught him to care for others, prompting him to spring into action.
A self-described "frequent rider" of the subway system, Wilder said it was early in the morning and the platform was quiet but he kept hearing a sound. He followed it and said he saw a man on the track, placing items on and beside the rails.
After the man left, Wilder jumped down and removed what he could before he felt the train coming. He then reported what he saw to an MTA worker.
When he returned to the platform, Wilder said he saw the man was still there and smiling after having put more debris on the tracks. As the train derailed, Wilder said he could see the man celebrating. A chase ensued, and Wilder said he grabbed the man just before he could exit the station.
Wilder said he put the suspect in a chokehold, threatened to break his arm then held him for 15 minutes. As he was holding the man, Wilder said he sprained his wrist.
"It bothered me," Wilder said of seeing the man get joy in wreaking havoc on the subway station. "I was disturbed. I was in shock, watching him smile and watching the train wreck."
The suspect was later arrested and charged.
Wilder said it has always bothered him to see news stories of people committing crimes in public places but no one around them taking action to stop the person.
"Normally we don't encourage riders, customers to go down onto the tracks," Foye said. "But in this case Mr. Wilder did it at great peril to himself and in the interest of protecting lives of New Yorkers, fellow customers and our employees."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NYC good Samaritan gets free subway rides for year after derailment