Kevin — January 27, 2008, 7:41 pm

Big Apple, Big Excitement

Man, I’ve been here almost a week. Do you know what I just finished doing? Washing half a pint of blood off my only winter jacket.

See, I was waiting for the L train at 3rd Avenue just minding my own business when this lovely lady in her 50’s decides to peer down the track to see how far away the oncoming train is. You know the one I’m talking about; the one with the 6 foot drop from the platform that leads down to two metal rails?


When all of a sudden… she falls over the edge.

She hammers the back of her head on the second rail and goes basically limp. I figure the next train is about 60 second away, so I immediately leap over the edge and basically break all forms of first aid protocol. I quickly weigh the odds – she COULD have a spinal injury that I’m aggravating, but I’m going to assume that a POSSIBLE injury is less dangerous than the CERTAIN DEATH she’s going to face when she gets run over by the L train http://ph??fr. So I haul her up on my shoulder, at which point she comes to, and I quickly get her back to the edge and holler at a couple of dudes to grab her arms and pull her up.

I clamber up myself back onto the platform (I think I can HEAR the train coming, but I can’t see it, but I’m not eager to stick around to see just how close I can cut it) and I quickly assess her – she’s got a pretty good head of hair that’s preventing me from seeing the wound, but the blood on my shirt and jacket tells me she’s got a pretty nasty head injury (while I’m doing so, the train comes zipping into the station – about thirty seconds later, which would have been the very train that ran us both over). I’ve got her shifted her back from the edge of the platform and use her scarf to apply pressure, which isn’t working all that well, but a lady steps off the recently arrived train, sees the excitement, and asks if I “know CPR”. I tell her she doesn’t need CPR, but I could use a few kleenexes or napkins if she’s got any in her purse. She goes one better and offers a pantyliner, which is great, because they’re just much better at absorbing blood than a knitted scarf. I send the bystander off to call the paramedics and to please come back and tell me how long they’re going to be once she contacts them.

I keep the pressure on her head and get her talking; I want to assess her speech – is she going in to shock? Is she slurring her words? She seems to be in exceptional pain but she’s not slurring, which is good – I get her to hold the bandage on her head (which, I’m guessing, is about a two inch laceration that is really, REALLY bleeding) and I do a quick body search to see if there’s anything else that I need to worry about. She can feel both her toes, which rules out a spinal; her knee hurts but it’s mobile, so that’s good, and while she’s complaining of leg pain, I don’t feel a compound fracture so I leave that area alone and go back to applying pressure to the hole in her head.

I engage her and tell her I just got to the city from Canada and BOY this is exciting and my name is Kevin and what do you do and isn’t New York just a FABULOUS city (I also reassure her husband, who is shaking like a leaf, that she’s going to be fine). Her name is Nancy and she’s an artist from the village, and I get her to tell me about her job while I check what’s called her “cap refil” – which is a really quick way to tell how someone’s circulatory system is doing. You push down on a fingernail and see how long it takes for the white area to go pink again – you’re testing the speed at which blood is flowing to the extremities. She’s about a second, which is longer than I’d like, but she’s still engaging me and answering my questions so I don’t think she’s going into shock (which is very good – it means she hasn’t lost too much blood).

So the NEXT train eventually shows up. It’s going quite slow as it comes into the station, so I guess the lady told someone at the station, who relayed to the driver of the next train that something was up and to take is slow coming in. The driver leans out his window and tells me the paramedics are en route.

I keep the pressure on and just basically hang out with Nancy and we chat until the boys in blue show up in about 5 minutes, with the paramedics about 2 minutes behind them. I keep acting as primary respondent (and the cops do crowd control as the next train arrives) until the paramedics arrive – I hand off the patient, pass on the few of her vitals that I got (I’m sure I missed a load of stuff, it’s been a while since I had my first aid class!) and tell them that this is Nancy, she’s got a 2 inch laceration on the back of her head, RBS reveals no other pressing injuries but there’s something up with her right thigh that I can’t diagnose, that she’s got a bit of an abnormal cap refill, and let the professionals with MUCH more training than me do their magic.

Once I do the handoff and the boys are getting her on a spineboard, I shake hands with the husband, give my name and number to the police, and continue on my merry way.

…on my merry way, riding the subway, covered in blood.

Ever try to ride the subway covered in blood? It doesn’t really matter how crowded the car is. People make room.

Anyhow, I had a couple more apartments to check out, but thought I’d call it a day – nobody’s going to rent a pad to somebody who looks like he’s just come out of a running gunfight. My jacket was covered with the muck and oil and crap from the subway tracks, I had blood everywhere, and just decided to head back to the guest room I’m staying at in New Jersey to see if I can make myself a little more presentable and to salvage the only winter jacket I’ve got! It’s been through the wash three times now and it’s looking pretty good.

So that’s week one all wrapped up. When they say “New York is exciting”, man, they weren’t kidding!



Later someone asked me how I managed to avoid the “third rail”. I didn’t know what that was at the time, which is probably why I leapt down as fast as I did (and why other dudes were so hesitant to join me down there). Basically, it’s the super high voltage live wire that carries the current. How did I manage to avoid it? Easy. Absolute ignorance and sheer dumb luck!

My new employer says I should be in the paper, which I think is probably a bit of a stretch. But then again, it might help me in my apartment search – You want references? Sure, ask this lady and her husband. They seem to think I’m a pretty good egg. Now where on the lease agreement did you want my signature again?

**EDIT: Wow, so it’s Monday now, and the ever kind Jay Adelson decided to pop this story (which I wrote for my friends back home, because I figured it would be easier than five phone calls!) on Digg. Three thousand Diggs later I’ve got a whole lot of fantastically kind comments (and my co-workers gave me a fun pin that says “hooray for me”, which I though was very nice).

Anyhow, a few people have thrown out the “hero” word, which I think is a but much. The guys who hit the beaches of Normandy in broad daylight and ran INTO the machine gun fire? Yeah, THOSE GUYS were heroes. Me? Somebody needed help, and I was there, so I helped. Because that’s what people do, you know? We help each other. I like to think that if it was anyone else in my place, they’d do the same thing if they were able. Hey, if nothing else, perhaps this will encourage people to get out there and take a basic First Aid class – so if you somehow find yourself in a situation where you need to help somebody out, you’ll be ready to rock!

I’m more than a little stunned at the number of eyeballs that have read this story over the past 24 hours (and people who actually read it to the very end – brevity is not one of my fortes!) and I guess I just wanted to take a second to thank you for all the kind words.

Oh, and I think I found an apartment – thanks for all the great suggestions!



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  1. Comment by Cameron @ January 27, 2008, 8:42 pm

    Dude… you’re Fucking Superman!


    Now don’t go wasting all that newfound karma.

    (And hey, didn’t you just update the blog a little while ago?)

  2. Comment by schicky @ January 27, 2008, 8:57 pm

    Well done, sir!!!
    Glad to hear all the first-aid training comes beack when you need it!
    And way to set a high bar for the first month in the Big Apple…

  3. Comment by corsiworld @ January 28, 2008, 12:06 am

    Reminds me of the time you helped the stab victim outside of P&T Theaters in NVan. Good jorb buddy!

  4. Comment by dag68 @ January 28, 2008, 1:43 am

    Good Job! I must have been walking on the street above and had no idea that there was such drama below. BTW, welcome to New York and you are officially a New Yorker after that baptism by fire.

  5. Comment by beau @ January 28, 2008, 4:41 am

    Dude that is amazing! Welcome to New York. Need a roommate?

  6. Pingback by Tiki Bar’s Johnny Johnny (Kevin Gamble) Saves Woman’s Life « Unleash your inner geek @ January 28, 2008, 8:23 am

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  7. Comment by michaelfoley @ January 28, 2008, 9:11 am

    Kevin, Welcome to New York. The Third Rail is the wood covered metal object on the far side of the tracks in the picture, below the red and white stripe which I believe warns you that the third rail is right there. It must have been behind you. Good luck with cleaning up your coat.

  8. Comment by lizzielizzie @ January 28, 2008, 9:44 am

    Jesus. Tap-dancing. Christ.

    GO YOU!!! 🙂 God, like you weren’t gonna get a hero’s welcome up here already… well done! New York’s lucky to have you.

  9. Comment by Adam C. @ January 28, 2008, 9:53 am

    In your top photo, I *believe* that the third rail is the rail just underneath the white & red marker on the wall.

  10. Comment by Joel @ January 28, 2008, 10:54 am

    Fuckin’ eh, dude. Once you get settled hit me with a ping and I’ll buy you a beer for that. Well done.

  11. Pingback by The Red Monkey » Blog Archive » Tiki Bar’s Johnny Johnny (Kevin Gamble) Saves Woman’s Life @ January 28, 2008, 11:36 am

    […] Today Kevin Gamble, also known as Tiki Bar TV’s “Johnny Johnny,” in an incredible act of heroism, saved a woman from an oncoming train in a New York subway. “The train is about 60 seconds away, so I immediately leap over the edge…So I haul her up on my shoulder, at which point she comes too, and I quickly get her back to the edge…”read more | digg story […]

  12. Comment by gsdesign @ January 28, 2008, 12:14 pm

    Kevin/Johnny Johnny,

    That is truly an amazing story. Way to be a good citizen…or something.

    It reminds me of a car fire I witnesses when I was working on the West Side Highway…

    Anyhoo – nice job!

  13. Comment by lindasherman @ January 28, 2008, 12:33 pm

    I’m here thanks to Chris Brogan. I’m glad to see that good news travels fast. Well done!!

  14. Comment by seanmcc @ January 28, 2008, 12:48 pm

    Bravo! Glad you didn’t hit that third rail.

  15. Pingback by Kevin Gamble, Tiki Bar’s Johnny Johnny, Saves Woman on Subway | Laughing Squid @ January 28, 2008, 2:07 pm

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  17. Comment by mb_unionsq @ January 28, 2008, 2:51 pm

    Welcome to NYC! If you were at the 3rd Ave/L station, then there’s a good chance that you’re a neighbor, at least temporarily. Nice to know there’s a really good, even heroic, guy nearby! We’re lucky to have you!

  18. Trackback by | The social sites' most interesting urls @ January 28, 2008, 3:54 pm

    Tiki Bar\’s Johnny Johnny (Kevin Gamble) Saves Woman\’s Life |…

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  19. Comment by pj @ January 28, 2008, 4:23 pm

    I pass by the 3rd Ave L station every morning! (HOT TIP: I always walk to the Union Square stop – MCH less crowded) Almost daily, I imagine myself in the “someone fell in the gap” situation, so that if and when the time comes, I wouldn’t have to think about it. Well, here you were with no time to think and you reacted straight off! Congratulations Johnny Johnny – you truly are a hero! I truly hope you end up in the neighborhood (I’m on 19th between 1st and 2nd) – We could use a few good men.

    Are the rest of the cast moving to NYC too?

  20. Comment by silentkv @ January 28, 2008, 4:58 pm

    Good job. All the years I’ve been on the trains and I have never seen anything like this. As far as the apartments, have you checked nearby Jersey? Hoboken is a nice town and there’s a subway’ish train (PATH) that leads in and out of New York all the time. It’s too expensive for me but I’m sure it’s cheaper than the city (that’s what we call NYC here). I live in Union City and it takes me 10 mintues to get to New York. In fact I have a meeting there tommorow.

  21. Comment by LenHumbird @ January 28, 2008, 8:05 pm

    Hi Kevin… Time to create a new cocktail to commemorate the event. May I suggest something like a Harvey Wallbanger, but more like a Helen Railbanger. Em, ok that’s too crude. How about something like a blend of a Metropolitan but with tomato or other juices. You get the picture. As for the TikiBarTV episode, I think you haven’t yet explored the Dorothy/bump-on-the-head/trip-to-Oz aspect. I think you can take it from there. If I were to give any further details, I’d have to go on strike. So we’ll leave it at that.

  22. Comment by Geek-Doc @ January 28, 2008, 9:14 pm

    Great Job! As an 18-year military medic, I’m impressed by your assessment and treatment skills!

    Look forward to seeing you on TBTV!


  23. Comment by groonk @ January 28, 2008, 10:27 pm

    johnny johnny, you’re my hero.

  24. Comment by jamesvaughn @ January 29, 2008, 12:06 am

    Excellent. If you end up still needing an apartment and don’t want to pay a broker’s fee or end up in some bizarre layout, feel free to contact me at jamesvaughn at gmail . Between myself and my acquaintances, we likely can offer an apartment which would satisfy your circumstances. Glad to have another helpful guy in town!

  25. Comment by bubby.oxide @ January 29, 2008, 9:38 am

    A lot of people would have froze. You took action. You did good.

  26. Comment by MOose @ January 30, 2008, 1:00 pm

    Huzzah! The Gambler strikes again!

  27. Pingback by HAWS.NET » Tiki Bar’s Johnny Johnny (Kevin Gamble) Saves Woman’s Life @ February 1, 2008, 9:51 am

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  28. Pingback by Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog » links for 2008-02-02 @ February 1, 2008, 10:24 pm

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  29. Pingback by Community Guy - Jake McKee » Rapid Fire - Wednesday, February 27 @ February 28, 2008, 1:01 am

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