PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The transit police officers who helped deliver a Christmas baby on a subway train reunited with the newborn boy and his parents Friday morning, trading the chaos of the dingy rail car where they first met for the comfort of a hospital room.
Sgt. Daniel Caban and Officer Darrell James — who joined the delivery-in-progress shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday — came bearing souvenir gifts, including a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority stuffed train and scarf.
Passengers on the eastbound Market-Frankford train said the officers helped coach the woman, identified Friday as Yanjin Li, through the delivery, removed the umbilical cord from the boy’s neck and placed him in her arms. The baby’s father wrapped him in a shirt to keep warm.
“It was breathtaking,” said passenger Ashley Dorsey, who aided in the birth.
The mother named her child Kris, as in Christmas, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
“He was born on Christmas,” she told the newspaper, while thanking everyone who helped. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”
Dorsey said the woman’s water broke as the train headed for the 15th and Market streets station.
Passengers rushed in to help, turning the woman to her side and laying her flat across a row of seats, Dorsey said. The woman’s husband appeared frantic, she said, so passengers kept congratulating him to calm him down.
“Of course nobody wants to give birth on the train, but I’m so glad she was on the train instead of out on the street,” Dorsey said.
Once at the station, passengers stood in the doorway to prevent the doors from closing and to get the attention of the train engineer. Word of the impending birth spread to Caban on the sidewalk above. James, across the station on the westbound platform, heard Caban’s radio call and ran over.
SEPTA police Chief Thomas Nestel III tweeted his excitement over the birth, writing: “Transit Police SGT and PO deliver baby on Market Frankford El train!!!! WOOHOO!!! Now that’s a Christmas gift!!!”
Later, the chief joked that he had waived the fare for SEPTA’s “newest rider.”
Mother and child were reported in good condition at Hahnemann University Hospital.
James, a father himself, called the birth a blessing. Caban said helping bring a new life into the world was a gift all its own.
“I had already opened all my presents,” Caban told WPVI-TV on Thursday. “I didn’t know I had another one waiting for me around 5:53 this afternoon.”