The two men who coaxed a 5-year-old girl out from under a Bronx train that killed her suicidal father were lauded Wednesday for their bravery and compassion.
While horrified onlookers watched and took cell phone videos Monday morning, Jairo Torres and Antonyo Love rushed into action after a despondent dad leaped in front of a moving train with his terrified daughter in tow.
Fernando Balbuena, 45, was dead on the track, cut in half, Torres said, by the No. 4 train that had barreled into the elevated Kingsbridge Road station during rush hour.
“I saw the baby look at her dad” Torres said Wednesday. “She looked at me and said, ‘What happened to my daddy?’”
“Don’t look at your Daddy,” he told her “Look at me.”
Torres, on his hands and knees, coaxed little Ferni out from under the train before handing her off to bystanders on the platform.
When the commotion was over, Torres did what he does every day — he went to work. But when his construction boss heard what happened, he told him to take the whole week off.
“This is what an immigrant looks like,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in a ceremony honoring the good Samaritans. “Someone who sees all of that, and all he wants to do is go to work.”
Diaz presented each man with a Citation of Merit for their heroism.
Love, who jumped on the track to help Torres get the girl, said he can’t get the harrowing images out of his head.
“I’m just lost for words right now for what I saw,” Love said. “I suffer from PTSD. There’s a lot on me right now. I owe it all to (Torres). I was just there to accompany him. To help him out.”
Love said someone swiped his bag from the platform after her jumped down to the track, and Diaz urged the thief to turn it in.
“Please, please have respect for a hero and return the bag,” Diaz said.
Diaz also encouraged New Yorkers to do more and watch less.
“Courage, again, is the act of doing something under pain and grief,” Diaz said. ”And that something, fellow New Yorkers, cannot be taking out your cell phone.”