You don’t need superpowers to be a hero. Heroes are simply those who respond to adversity with bravery and selflessness, which is exactly what 28-year-old grad student Jesse Atkinson did earlier this week.

When a woman on his subway car suddenly started suffering a seizure, Atkinson knew that someone needed to step up and come to her aid—and fast. Without a moment’s hesitation, he sprang to his feet and assumed the posture of a concerned bystander. But as he courageously steeled himself to intervene, another passenger suddenly rushed to her side and took control of the situation.


“In the heat of the moment, you’re not really thinking about what you’re doing,” said Atkinson, explaining that something deep inside of him had just kicked in that day. “You just do what you need to do, unless someone else does it for you.”

He added that even though he has no medical training, he was fully prepared to kneel down next to the woman and urgently gesture for someone else to go get a doctor, perhaps even holding the woman’s head up and ordering other passengers to hit the EMERGENCY button next to the door.


“Anybody else would’ve done the same thing,” said Atkinson, modestly shrugging off his heroics. “I’m just an ordinary guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

When asked if the woman he almost helped had reached out to extend her gratitude, Atkinson insisted that he wasn’t interested in any sort of reward or accolade. He just hoped that she—and everyone else from the subway car that day—would one day pay it forward.


Spoken like a true hero.