This story is part of the Hidden Brain team’s My Unsung Hero series about people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.
One of the most important people in Sunita Kramer’s life is a stranger she has never met. She doesn’t know their names or what they look like.
She met them the same day she nearly lost her 7-year-old daughter.
It was a summer day in New Jersey, and the couple planned to take a train to art camp at Rutgers University, where Kramer works. She had to drag her daughter through the crowd to get to their train.
“And I think I was anxious,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to miss the train and be late.”
The train stopped and it was time to board.
“And instead of patiently letting her get on the train first, I got on the train first and pulled her behind me,” Kramer said.
In her haste, she had forgotten how wide the gap between the train and the platform could be. In her haste, she failed to notice that her daughter had tripped and slipped through the gap.
“It’s something I have a really hard time talking about, because my whole life has flashed before my eyes,” Kramer said.
Just as the train doors were closing, a stranger on the platform grabbed his daughter’s hand and pulled her from the space directly above Kramer, knocking them both into the carriage.
“My daughter’s shins were all scraped up and we were laying there,” Kramer recalled. “And I didn’t have time to thank that stranger who saved my daughter’s life.”
“I think the hardest part was lying there and knowing that no one on the train understood what had happened to us, how close I was to losing her. And we just had to pick ourselves up. and find a seat.”
She found tissues in her bag and cleaned her daughter’s legs. Arriving at their stop, they headed to the art camp where they found bandages for the scraped shins.
“And then I went into my office, which was a few blocks away, closed the door, and just cried,” Kramer said. “I was traumatized but what I’m thinking now is who that stranger was and how he was able to react so quickly and how I wish I could thank him or even see what he looks like.”
The next day, Kramer and his daughter got back on the train.
“Because I didn’t want to be scared,” she said.
As they made their way to the train, Kramer searched the crowd, wondering if the stranger who had saved his daughter’s life was there, if they remembered her or even knew who she was.
“I wanted to be able to thank them because this unsung hero changed my life,” she said.
My Unsung Hero is also a podcast – new episodes are released every Tuesday and Thursday. To share your unsung hero’s story with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].