After saving man from CTA tracks, rescuer rewarded with car

Anthony Perry is used to enduring long commutes to work on public transit. Now, he has another option.

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Anthony Perry checks out the 2009 Audi he just received on Wednesday.

Anthony Perry checks out the 2009 Audi he just received on Wednesday. On Monday, Perry helped rescue a man from the CTA tracks at the 59th Street Red Line station.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Anthony Perry is no stranger to long commutes on public transportation. The 20-year-old takes two buses and a train to get to his job with Amazon Fresh in Oak Lawn.

But on Monday, his commute was interrupted at the CTA’s 69th Street Red Line station, where he rescued a man who had ended up on the tracks.

On Wednesday, Perry was honored for his actions by Early Walker, founder of the organization I’m Telling Don’t Shoot, as well as by the Chicago Police Department.

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“We know gas prices are high, so we wanted to give you this gas card,” said Walker, handing the 20-year-old Perry a $25 gasoline card.

“Oh man,” Perry said with a smile. “Thank you, I appreciate it.”

Except Perry does not have a working car. Or, at least, he didn’t. Because just then, the honking of a tow truck in the distance announced a much larger gift from Walker.

Sitting on the truck was a 2009 Audi A8.

“What?” Perry exclaimed, his hand covering his face in shock. “Oh boy. … I love it.”

Perry was surprised with a 2009 Audi A8 on June 8.

Perry was gifted a 2009 Audi A8 by philanthropist Early Walker after he saved a man lying lifeless on the train tracks.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Several officers from CPD’s 3rd District also attended the presentation, across the street from Meyering Park, 7140 S. King Drive, near Perry’s grandfather’s home.

District Commander Roderick Watson said it was important for officers to show support for Perry.

“This is what we need more of. Police can’t be everywhere at all times,” Watson said. “This is a perfect example of what we need out here to help support our efforts. Now, we have a citizen who actually took charge, jumped in and should be recognized. … Maybe later on what we can do is pull him to the side and recruit him.”

Police are still investigating the incident that led to the man falling onto the tracks.

Perry had just exited a train Monday when he saw two men with their fists up, preparing to fight. Then he saw one of the men lying lifeless on the tracks, with his hand pinned under a rail. 

The Greater Grand Crossing resident jumped down to the track to help the man as onlookers recorded the incident and yelled for someone to help. The video was shared on social media, and one Facebook post had about 133,000 views as of Wednesday afternoon.

The unidentified man, who remained hospitalized Wednesday, was lying on top of the electrified third rail, which powers the trains.

Perry dragged the man off the tracks, then performed CPR with the help of a bystander. 

“When I looked back on the video and I listen, it sounded like everyone was in fear … no one actually did anything, they just wanted to record,” Perry said. 

Walker said his wife told him about the viral video and Perry’s heroics.

“Everybody is about the views, about going viral but no one helps,” Walker said. “We just wanted to honor you, we want more Anthonys in the world.”

Anthony Perry, 20, with the 2009 Audi he was given after helping a man who was on the tracks at the 69th Street Red Line station.

Anthony Perry, 20, saved a man who was on the electrified third rail at the CTA’s 69th Street Red Line station. He was rewarded with a 2009 Audi, courtesy of Early Walker, founder of the organization I’m Telling Don’t Shoot.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Through laughter, Perry explained what ran through his head when he was pranked with the gas card.

“You know gas is expensive. … I thought, ‘I got a gas card, now I just have to worry about getting the whip,’” he said.

Perry said the car will make his life “way easier,” explaining that after a long shift, he has fallen asleep on the train and missed his stop. 

“Look at God, y’all,” he said, before revving the engine and taking his new ride for a spin around the block.

Mariah Rush is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct that the rescue happened at the 69th Street stop on the Red Line.

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