The NYPD officer who guided a cancer patient through Midtown gridlock last week so she wouldn’t miss her chemo appointment was reunited with the woman on Sunday — and insisted she’s the real hero.
Gabriela DeMassi and her mother were trying to get to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center last Thursday but got stuck in severe traffic near on Sixth Ave. near W. 57th St. around 9 a.m.
"The first thing they said was, 'Officer, can I ask you a question?" Officer Hamlet De Leon, 37, recalled. "'Is there any way possible I can get a different route to get to Memorial Sloan Kettering?'"
"I said, 'Get back in your car because you're getting to your appointment.'"
De Leon, who typically works in Brooklyn but was on a Midtown detail as part of the UN’s General Assembly, then grabbed a traffic agent who’d been instructed not to let cars turn onto W. 57th St.
“I basically said, ‘I’m not asking you, I’m telling you this car will be making this right turn,’” De Leon recalled. “I proceeded to start moving all the other cars that were in front of Gabriela’s car. I wasn’t thinking of whether I was disobeying an order. It’s a life. That takes precedence over everything."
As DeMassi’s black Mercedes Benz pulled away, De Leon uttered some words of encouragement.
“I told her, ‘You better keep fighting. Don’t give up. You got this,’” he said. “The mother started crying and I reached in and grabbed the mother’s hand, and I said, ‘Everything’s going to be all right. It’s going to be OK.’”
DeMassi, 28, made her appointment and received good news — the tumors in her lungs remained stable and hadn’t grown.
She then took to Instagram to praise the cops for their support, but said she never got their names. On Sunday, after department officials did some poking around, they were finally reunited.
“I told my superior this isn’t something I did for recognition," De Leon said. “I didn’t do it to get any sort of fame. If anything, I want everybody to know she’s the hero."
“We exchanged numbers,” he added. “I gained another family member. I told her I’m gonna check up on her.”