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She found herself cornered in a train station. Then a stranger came to her aid

Cynthia Page recalls a night 50 years ago when a man helped her get away from a group of strangers who surrounded her in a train station.
Cynthia Page
Cynthia Page recalls a night 50 years ago when a man helped her get away from a group of strangers who surrounded her in a train station.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series, from the Hidden Brain team, about people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.


In the 1970s, Cynthia Page was a young copywriter working in Manhattan and living in New Jersey. One night, after missing the train home, she found a phone booth in the train station and called her husband. When she hung up and turned around, she saw that the phone booth was surrounded by a group of tall, threatening-looking men.

"I don't know what these people would have done," Page recalled. "But I was legitimately frightened."

Just as she was wondering what she would do, she heard an angry, booming male voice come through the train station – directed at her. The man was shouting about how they were going to miss their train.

"It's like the red sea parted," Page said. "This sea of these great big men sort of parted and marching through came this well-dressed, well-suited man."

The man opened the phone booth door, grabbed her by the arm, pulled her out, and moved her through the station. As they walked, he continued to talk loudly and complain about almost missing their train, as if he knew her. He waited with her for another train, and once he saw that she was safe, he disappeared.

"I don't know where he went, I didn't see him again," Page said. "But I've remembered it forever."

More than 50 years later, Page still wonders what would have happened if that stranger hadn't come to help her.

"I think it does remind you what kind of kindness there is out there," Page said. "It reminds you of the connection that we all have together at some very deep-rooted level. And it is a wonderful feeling."

My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday. To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laura Kwerel

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