A visually impaired man, who miraculously survived a fall onto subway tracks and being run over by an incoming train, thanks to his seeing-eye dog’s heroic efforts, has been gifted a new guide dog. Cecil Williams, 60, had a fortunate escape after plummeting onto the tracks at Harlem’s 125th Street station in New York due to dizziness.
Orlando, his 11-year-old black Labrador who tried to prevent the fall, tumbled onto the tracks alongside him. As a train approached, Orlando roused Cecil by licking his face. Post this harrowing episode, Cecil expressed his inability to keep Orlando, as the faithful canine was aging and no longer fit for guide dog duties.
However, due to the generosity of kind-hearted strangers, Cecil can now retain Orlando, allowing the dog to retire and enjoy a more relaxed life. Moreover, Cecil has also received a new guide dog named Godiva. An online campaign aimed at helping Cecil keep Orlando successfully raised $44,000 in donations.
On the day of the incident, Cecil, clinging to Orlando, lay flat in the space between the tracks while the incoming train moved overhead. Terrified onlookers shrieked, imploring the train to halt.
Orlando dutifully stayed with Cecil, barking for help and shielding him as the train halted just above them. Passengers watched in horror as an MTA employee instructed Cecil to remain motionless and lay down between the tracks.
The train managed to stop but not before two carts rolled over Cecil and Orlando, who narrowly escaped harm by crouching just in time.
FDNY Capt. Danny O’Sullivan, with 17 years at FDNY, said someone must have been watching over Cecil and Orlando. “He was just in between the rails. It was undoubtedly his lucky day. It’s nothing short of a miracle.”
Godiva, the new yellow Labrador, has a significant role to step into.
“Orlando was my guardian angel. He’s been my steadfast companion since I got him. We look out for each other,” Cecil shared. At 11, Orlando is no longer fit for guide dog duties, and Cecil couldn’t afford to keep him, a thought that still brings him to tears.
Expressing gratitude, Cecil said, “The spirit of goodwill is alive. Despite the negativity, I choose to focus on the positive.” Thanks to anonymous benefactors, Cecil can now keep both dogs as Orlando transitions into retirement.
In a heartfelt press conference, Cecil expressed his deep appreciation for the nationwide kindness, stating, “Orlando is my best friend. I feel blessed, I believe it’s a miracle. All those who contributed, we owe them our gratitude. There’s still goodness in this world. I’m thankful for the collective effort to help me keep Orlando, which will provide for him for the rest of his life.”