Alice Mullowney, a 20-year Arlington resident, was riding the T for the first time in a month. She was headed to the theater, excited for her first night out since breaking her arm in August.
Deija Kirkland, an eighth-grader at Community Charter School of Cambridge, was riding the T home from her soccer team’s 4-1 loss. She was tired and eager to get home.
Then, at about 6:30 p.m. last night, the Red Line train they were on came to a stop in a dark tunnel.
“We were stuck between Charles and Park Street,” Mullowney said. “The usual messages came along. Then the power shut off.”
The train, full of passengers, sat for an hour. Fires at South Station and Chinatown station were stalling trains across the city. Passengers were evacuated, including Mullowney and Kirkland.
“One crew member came through – she had one of those great voices you can hear all over – and asked if anyone is handicapped,” said Mullowney, who sat on the train with her arm still in a sling. “I’m not someone who’s handicapped, but I thought, ‘Maybe.’”
Kirkland had just finished telling an audience of fellow passengers about her soccer game when a woman in a sling was escorted to the front of the train and into the seat next to her.
“[My grandmother] just always taught me that if someone needs help or assistance, always to help them,” said Kirkland, 13, of Dorchester. “So I introduced myself.”
“They asked me to move up front and I sat next to this just adorable girl,” Mullowney said. “She was cute, a very bubbly personality.”
The two chatted until it was their time to exit the train and walk on the tracks back to Charles/MGH station.
Kirkland hopped down the train steps, but instead of continuing down the track and ultimately home after a long day, she stopped and waited.
“I waited for her to walk down the stairs,” Kirkland said, “and then I grabbed her arm and we walked to Charles/MGH.”
“She just hung on to me and took me out and she was just going to stay with me until we got to the station,” Mullowney said. “It made me feel better that somebody cared. You always feel like you’re on your own in those situations.”
The two made the five- to 10-minute walk together, Kirkland clutching Mullowney’s good arm to support her. Then the two said their goodbyes. Mullowney headed towards Cambridge in a cab, Kirkland towards Dorchester in her mother’s car.
Kirkland retold her T horror story to her mother and classmates the next day, but always left out one detail.
“We talked about all the traffic, and how she walked on the tracks, but she didn’t even mention it,” Kirkland's mother, Kenya Burns, said of the good deed. “Kids, huh?”
“I didn’t really think it was a big deal,” Kirkland said. “I just thought it was the right thing to do.”
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