As a general rule, if something falls on the subway tracks, it's a goner.
Simple lesson. Simple enough even a 3-year-old girl understands it. Which is why Riley Carey-Brown was so upset when her best stuffed friend, Nummy the Bunny, slipped from her hands while exiting a train at a Boston T station.
But little kids have something going for them no adult can match: incredible persistence teamed with the power of a good cry. And goaded by their daughter's pleadings to save Nummy, Riley's parents enlisted the help of some remarkably understanding subway workers to rescue Nummy from certain doom. And bring a smile to their daughter's tear-streaked face.
Writing about the incident on her blog, Casey Carey-Brown says after the family told a customer service operator what happened, the operator called a dispatcher who reached out to the driver of the next train coming down the tracks. The one threatening to unstuff Riley's favorite stuffed animal. All the while, Casey writes Riley was "sobbing and anxious."
The driver of that next train, Frank Limone, was told to use "extreme caution" when approaching the station. Limone stopped well short of Nummy, allowing Riley's "best friend" to be scooped-up off the tracks.
The family was unaware the big rescue was taking place and didn't see who left Nummy for them on the platform or get to thank them. But they did later, outside the station where little Riley adorably presented a bouquet of flowers to the three people who helped her.
"It happened so fast," said her mom Michelle Carey-Brown. "They were so quick and nice and thoughtful … and saved Riley from really being so incredibly sad.”
Casey Carey-Brown wrote that before the train ride, her daughter said that "Nummy was a little scared of the train and she needed to tell her it was okay, trains aren’t scary." Which is fantastically cute -- thought for a few moments there, Riley's encouraging sentiment seemed at-risk of being forever altered.
Instead, a very happy ending neatly summed up by the title of Casey's original blog post:
"The Day the MBTA Saved a Bunny and a Little Girl's Heart"