A 34-year-old father of three who leaped onto the subway tracks to save a girl who fainted and fell onto the tracks in Union Square believes it was fate that put him there.
Joshua Garcia, a cook at New York University, left work unusually late Wednesday evening and was waiting for an uptown 4 train at Union Square when he heard the girl fall onto the tracks.
"The sound of how she hit the track was so loud, it sounded like gunshots," he said.
Without hesitating, Garcia turned to help. His co-worker, fearing for his safety, desperately tried to hold him back, gripping him so hard Garcia still had bruises days later.
But a determined Garcia broke free and jumped onto the tracks, where he says the 16-year-old girl, Stephanie Xue, was bleeding and unconscious.
"It happened so fast, I didn't think it was me doing it," he said. "People on the platform were so amazed how fast I got to her because I was about 50 steps away from her."
"Thought with no hesitation, no second step -- just jumped onto the track," he added. "What's sad, no one moved to help her."
Garcia said he saw the rail light up while he was down on the tracks. With little time to spare, he hoisted the teenager onto the platform.
As he cradled the girl in his arms, a nearby nursing student helped apply pressure to the girl's head wound until paramedics arrived.
"She had blood rushing down her face, a 6- to 8-inch gash," said the student, Justine Omilig. "I could see her skull so I knew it was serious."
Garcia says the girl's family was grateful and he hopes he'll get the chance to reunite with her soon.
"I was just a pawn in the game of a life that God put me in this situation," he said.
It's not clear what caused the girl to faint.