NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A New York City Transit worker is being hailed a hero for rescuing an emotional support dog that bolted from her owner's Lower Manhattan apartment and spent the whole day wandering back and forth on the subway tracks.
The dog, named Lucy, made her daring escape from her owner's eighth floor apartment in Battery Park City on Saturday morning.
She dashed out of the apartment, boarded an elevator, went down to the lobby, snuck by the doorman and then made her way outside, where she ran across the West Side Highway and down into the Chambers Street subway station.
Lucy then spent hours wandering the tracks along the 1 train line, ducking under trains and walking on the platform edge as she made her way uptown on her daylong underground adventure.
Trains were slowed down as transit workers searched in vain for the runaway pooch after she was spotted running through the tunnels at 14th Street.
She made it another 14 blocks before she was finally scooped up by NYC Transit Train Service Supervisor Jose Bonilla at 28th Street — a whole 10 hours after she escaped her apartment.
Bonilla said Saturday started out like any other Saturday, but when he reported for duty at 2 p.m., he was immediately briefed on the situation and then spent his whole shift trying to track down Lucy.
It wasn't until 8 p.m. — his lunch period — that word came in of a confirmed Lucy sighting. When he got to the location, he made his way onto the tracks to save the dog.
"I put myself in the path of Miss Lucy, who was at that time walking in a straight line," Bonilla said. "She basically came up to me, I called out her name, she laid down in front of me, I petted her, I picked her up, there was a bite involved at that moment, and I was able to put her on the 2 train right into Molly's hands. Basically another day in transit."
Molly, the daughter of Lucy's owner, said she was relieved when she was able to hold Lucy again all thanks to Bonilla's quick thinking and action.
"I spent time from station to station screaming her name like a crazy person to no avail until Jose managed to find her and get her back into my hands," Molly said. "Then she sat very nicely on the subway for the whole ride home as though she had never done anything else. One good bath later and a check up on a broken nail she's in good shape, reunited with my mom... and everybody's happy."
Molly said she spent the entire day fearing that Lucy could've been hit by a train, electrocuted, impaled herself on something, or stolen.
"It was just terrifying and there were a lot of people in Battery Park City who had been looking for her before we found out she was on the train who were really worried and just being able to have her in my arms was such a huge relief," Molly said. "Lots of tears all around and a couple of cocktails."
On Tuesday, Bonilla was awarded a certificate of commendation for going above and beyond to rescue Lucy.
The commendation recognizes for Bonilla for his "heroic actions."
"We applaud Jose for his efforts and diligent work to reunite Lucy with her owner," MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer said. "This is just another example of the heroic work transit workers are ready to do at a moment's notice."
The MTA said Lucy was rescued from Puerto Rico about seven years ago and has been her owner's only companion throughout the pandemic.