Like he does every day, Eddie Palacios was waiting for a commuter train to Chicago O’Hare International Airport when something out of the ordinary happened. And his extraordinary response is now earning him national attention as a hero.
Palacios, a Checked Baggage Supervisor, was on the Chicago Avenue Blue Line Station platform when he heard people yelling that a woman had fallen on to the train tracks. With mere seconds to spare, Palacios made a quick assessment and jumped on to the tracks to help save the woman.
“I thought to myself, OK, I've got an orange hoodie on. They are bound to see me,” said Palacios, describing his gut reaction to act in the moment.
Amateur video shows Palacios waving his arms furiously in the path of the oncoming train, which eventually came to stop only 20 feet from him. He managed to pull the injured woman to safety and afterwards she was taken to the hospital.
When Palacios arrived at work yesterday, word began to spread about his heroic actions. Palacios says that he wasn’t trying to be a hero—he just knew he had to help.
In fact, when he explained his tardiness to his supervisor, the humble hero simply told him that, “somebody needed help at the train station, so I helped them.”
Following the incident, in an interview with a local reporter, Palacios credited TSA with providing him the skills and confidence to act in the moment.
“We have situations at the checkpoint where we have to make quick decisions, this was just like second nature—our training works,” said the 12-year TSA veteran.
“I didn't really think I was putting myself in danger because I wouldn't be that reckless. I was just trying to calculate the distance of the train and how much time I had before I had to make the decision and get out of the way," he said.
Federal Security Director Kathleen Petrowsky praised Palacios.
“He put himself in harm’s way to save another, he is a hero pure and simple,” said Petrowsky. “Because of his brave actions, a person is alive today.”
From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs