A blind man who tumbled onto subway tracks in Manhattan with his guide dog declared "there's still good people in this world" after he was told anonymous donations will make it possible for him to keep the animal after it is retired next month.
Cecil Williams, 61, appeared with the black Labrador, Orlando, at the hospital Wednesday, after telling the AP in an interview a day earlier that the beloved pup would be forced to retire due to his age in January. His insurance wouldn't pay for a retired dog, Williams said.
The organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which provided the dog to Williams seven years ago, announced at the press conference that donations had covered the cost of the dog for life after his retirement.
An emotional Williams thanked strangers for their kindness.
"Orlando, he is my best buddy, he's my pal," Williams said. "The spirit of giving, Christmas ... it exists here and it's in New York."
"I feel that it's a blessing, I feel that it's a miracle," Williams added later. "All the people that contributed or donated, we should take our hat off to them. There's still good people in this world."
In the fall Tuesday, Williams said he passed out on the subway platform and fell onto the tracks with the dog, into the path of a train.
The train wasn't able to stop in time, and it rolled over Williams, but he wasn't hit because he landed between the rails. His doctor said he would likely be released Thursday.
"My eyes are misty ... things like this here don't happen for everybody," Williams said.
Williams will get a new guide dog when Orlando turns 11 next month and retires.
"He's looking forward to enjoying life now," Williams said.
Williams said anyone still wanting to donate to him should direct their money to Guiding Eyes to support the training and care of other guide dogs.