It's one of those freak tragedies that sends chills down your spine. A 21-year-old college student on her daily commute is waiting for a train. While standing on the platform, she has a brief exchange with a homeless man, who allegedly then suddenly pushes her in front of an oncoming train. It's a horrifying crime -- and even more so when you learn what motivated this man's vicious attack.
The man, 39-year-old Howard Mickens, was reportedly angered when young Maya Leggat declined to give him any money. Other would-be passengers immediately went to help, following Mickens and subduing him until police arrived. Fortunately the impact did not kill Legget, but it did leave her legs badly mangled and she suffered a head injury. A family member said she will need several surgeries. It's a miracle that she survived.
It's so dismaying that this girl's life was put in danger simply because she said, "No." According to the New York Post, this man had been loitering at the station and harassing people for months. He even had 11 previous arrests. This is just a horrible reminder that danger can lurk in the most unexpected places. We have to be vigilante about our safety and, sadly, always on the defensive when it comes to strangers.
There seem to be a rash of cases in New York City where a person on their way to work or home is pushed on the tracks by a deranged stranger. It's frightening. For now, Mickens has been charged with attempted homicide. If found guilty, they should lock him up for a very long time.
Do you find this story startling? Or have you heard of a similar incident?
Image via Phillip Capper/Flickr