The New York City police detective who pulled a 92-year-old man to safety after he fell into the gap between a Long Island Rail Road train and the Great Neck station platform said Wednesday it's "wonderful to hear" the man he helped is grateful -- but he was just doing what the situation required.
Benjamin Goldman, of Great Neck, fell into the gap on Sunday evening while returning home from seeing the New York City Ballet with his wife of 65 years, Dorothy.
Det. Neil Hicks, 43, was getting off the same train after completing his shift in the 19th Precinct on Manhattan's Upper East Side. He said he heard a commotion on the platform.
"People were going crazy, running and screaming," said Hicks, a 20-year police veteran and lifelong Great Neck resident. "I see another guy was leaning down. So I look and see Mr. Goldman down on the track. My biggest concern was that the conductor didn't know that anybody was down on the track."
While other witnesses tried to alert the train crew, Hicks said he reached down into the gap, grabbed Goldman and pulled him up to the platform.
"I put him up on the platform and the conductors came running down. I told the conductors what happened, and they took over," said Goldman, who went home to his wife and three children -- not sticking around at the station long enough to be thanked by the Goldmans. "I felt my job was done."
The Goldmans were anxious to express their gratitude to the Good Samaritan, but did not know who he was or how to reach him. Hicks came forward after his wife watched a televised report about the Goldmans' search for him.
Benjamin Goldman -- who suffered bruises on his arms and mouth and below his left eye -- was treated in the intensive care unit of North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and was continuing his recovery Wednesday at home.
"I'm just really overwhelmed," Dorothy Goldman said of Hicks, whom she looks forward to meeting in coming days. "I just want to say thank you in person. I really do."
Hicks said he was touched the couple was grateful for what he did, even if he doesn't think it was that big a deal.
"It was so quick," he said. "You're either going to do it or you're not."