Muni worker lauded for saving blind man

A San Francisco Muni worker who helped save a blind man from being run over by an underground train will be honored today by the Municipal Transportation Agency for his heroism.

Last January, Muni fare inspector Tony Lama was working at Van Ness station when he glimpsed a blind man mistakenly trying to enter a two-car train directly at the location where the vehicle’s cars connected. Unaware of his surroundings, the blind man stepped out and fell down below to the rail tracks.

Reacting quickly, Lama raced to the exiting train and put his hand in between the closing doors. An instantlater he grabbed the man by his collar and yanked him back to safety on the boarding platform, just before the train departed.

“I knew I could buy myself a few seconds if I got the train doors open,” said Lama. “The man’s head and shoulders were about three feet below the platform, and he appeared to be in a kneeling position on the tracks. The train was on an automatic timing schedule, and I knew if I didn’t do something quickly he would be crushed.”

Lama said the man appeared be a little embarrassed afterward and refused to identify himself for an incident report, but was not hurt otherwise. For his actions, Lama will receive a “special recognition certificate” in today’s MTA board meeting at 2 p.m., said department spokesperson Janis Yuen. To be eligible for the certificate a Muni worker must be nominated by a division supervisor.

“I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it was a good feeling knowing I helped that man,” said Lama. “I would hope somebody else would do the same for me.”

wreisman@examiner.com  </em>

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