A man in a wheelchair that veered onto the tracks at a Metrorail station July 4 was rescued by nearby good Samaritans who were brave enough to jump in and pull him out.
The man, who spoke with News4 but did not want to be identified, said he was trying to check the status of his train when he drove his motorized wheelchair past a platform at Metro Center on the morning of July 4.
The first person to jump onto the tracks was 21-year-old Michael Mechaca, an army specialist who serves in the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard.
"At first I thought it was a baby carriage," he said.
Mechaca, of Fort Myer, Va., said his military training immediately kicked in.
"[You see] something go down, take half a second to assess it and just act. Make a difference. Do something," he said.
Three other people also jumped onto the tracks -- one from the opposite platform, leaping over the third rail -- to assist Mechaca in helping lift the man and his wheelchair back on the platform.
When asked if he felt like a hero, Mechaca said, "I feel like a courteous guy. Three other courteous people helped out. I was not the only one."
The rescued man told News4 he is very thankful for Mechaca and the others who helped. He did break his wrist in the process and cut his leg, but is recovering at home.
Mechaca's squad leader plans to recommend him for a soldier's service medal.