Thousands of people race into Metro Center every day, but only one man raced to save a life on the Fourth of July.
Army specialist Michael Menchaca is a reluctant hero, yet heroic is really the only word to describe him. Surveillance cameras captured his brave act on Independence Day.
It was a horrifying fall. A man in a wheelchair was trying to get closer to read a metro sign and plummeted off the platform – face first.
Menchaca just happened to be descending the escalator at that moment.
“I saw something go over on the track,” he said. “I went to go see and look down, and there was a guy strapped to his wheelchair.”
The unidentified man was not only attached to his wheelchair, but he had landed just inches from the 750-volt third rail. Menchaca knew he had to act.
"I just jumped down there and started helping him out,” he said. “I tried picking him up, but realized he was still strapped to his wheelchair."
Menchaca struggled with the seatbelt, worried that a train would soon come barreling down the tracks.
“Every second felt like 30 seconds, you know that kind of thing,” he described.
That’s when a passenger from the opposite side of the platform leaped over both third rails to help him lift up the man who is currently in recovery.
Menchaca is unaware that he is now being considered for the Soldier’s Medal – the Army’s highest peacetime award.
When ABC 7 asked him whether he thought his actions were heroic, Menchaca responded: “No, not really -- I was just doing the right thing."
There were no trains in the immediate vicinity, but Metro staff fortunately had alerted their control system to stop all trains.
The man sustained only minor injuries.