Saluting the Subway Hero

Publish date:

It was refreshing to see Wesley Autrey, the man who showed that a subway hero isn’t just what freakin’ Jared eats for lunch, on Letterman last night. It was refreshing not only because what Autrey did to save the man on the tracks completely defies logic, common sense and human nature, but because, for once, someone on a talk show was entirely unpolished. Talk TV is filled with slicksters who act like they grew up in front of the camera. Even when media stars du jour—coal mine accident survivors, victims of bear attacks—make the rounds on Today and Good Morning America, they look like the ink’s still wet on their Media Training 101 certificate.

But Autrey, with his “I goes…” Queens English (Queens as in Corona and Woodside, not Victoria and Elizabeth) and habit of leaping to his feet to demonstrate a point, came off as completely real. And Letterman did a bang-up job of walking Autrey—making his umpteenth media appearance yesterday–through his time in the guest chair. Dave knew when to let Autrey ramble, when to clarify something for the audience, and precisely how to thank him for reinvigorating his—and countless others’–faith in mankind.

It made for good television. So did showing Autrey’s two young daughters in the green room just before the commercial break.

Gawker’s got the clip here.

By Michael Malone