On Thursday March 13, 2014, after taking We The Enslaved to UPS near the New Carrollton Metro Station to be shipped to the Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles a strong gust of wind blew the writer's Fedora off of his head in the freezing cold as he waited for the train back to Washington, D.C.
In a scene out of a Buster Keaton movie, the hat was being blown down the Metro platform as if it were being pulled by a string. In an attempt to bend over to grab the hat, as it flew through the air, the writer fell on the tracks as horrified Metro employees and customers looked on.
It happened so fast that only Metro security cameras captured the hat flying onto the tracks and its owner falling after it. "Push the button," was shouted by Metro employees. It was all happening very fast. The scheduled train had to be stopped. If the workers could not hoist the body off of the tracks before the train arrived there would have been a very grisly death.
Down on the Metro tracks it is impossible to get back on the platform without assistance. The distance from the platform to the rails is deceptively deep. Without the assistance of the Metro station men who ran to the platform and grabbed the writer's right hand this article would not be written.
"I am guilty. I did it. It was my fault. I fell onto the tracks while chasing my hat that a strong gust of wind blew off my head," said the writer.
"Never, ever, fall onto the Metro tracks for any reason! You could have been killed," said the Metro employee.Sitting down as other Metro employees and customers checked to see if the writer was OK, the thought occurred that most deadly accidents occur in a split second. There is rarely time to think. Obviously a $40 dollar hat is not worth a human life. Even catching a cold for standing in the bitter cold is not worth a human life.
However trying to catch a hat directly in front of you as the strong wind blows it closer and closer to the edge of the platform is not part of a plan to jump onto the tracks. It is being caught up in the moment and not realizing where you are until after the hat is in hand.
Many people have lost their lives jumping into a body of water to save a life. The men who reached down into the tracks to save the writer could have also been killed.
Walking away from a near death experience is always a waking revelation. The muscle strain from being pulled and hoisted around took 24 hours to set in after leaving the evening of Library of Congress research and locating a chapter written nearly 30 years ago that the author had forgotten.
As Library of Congress staff member Kimberly Winfrey brought his book out of the Library of Congress Collections, the memory of the Metro incident still fresh, tears of joy filled the writer's eyes.
The pages of the book were in mint condition thanks to the dedication and hard work of Library of Congress staff. The photos in the book of a much younger, black versus gray haired, writer brought back memories of a wonderful life almost lost on the cold Metro tracks.
Metro asked the writer to remind all customers to never go on the tracks for any reason. Hats, cellphones, purses, can all be replaced. If a person accidentally falls on the tracks alert the station manager immediately. If there are very strong winds stay away from the edge of the train platform.
Thank you, Metro and UPS.