MANHATTAN — The teenage girl rescued from the path of an oncoming subway train in Union Square by a quick-acting good Samaritan has finally met her superhero — and there were hugs, tears and heart-tugging emotions all around.
The reunion between Stephanie Xue, a Bronx high school senior, and Josh Garcia, the NYU food service employee who leapt onto Union Square tracks to save her, occurred at a dim sum palace in Flushing last Sunday.
“They just kept saying, “Thank you, thank you,” Garcia said of Xue and her parents.
At one point, her mother nearly broke down as she told their guardian angel, "If it were not for you, this could have been horrible."
“I just got up, gave her mother a hug and said, ‘The only thing that is important is Stephanie is alive and well, and we should just be thankful for that.'”
Garcia sprang into action on May 7 when he was standing on the northbound Lexington Avenue line platform around 6:45 p.m. He saw Xue appear to become dizzy and then plunge headfirst onto the tracks.
Her head hit a rail with such force that it sounded like a gunshot, opening a 6-inch gash on the right side of her head.
As hundreds of straphangers did nothing, Garcia pushed his way through the throng and jumped down onto the tracks. As the headlights of an arriving train emerged from the tunnel, Garcia lifted the 5-feet-4 inch teen over his head and onto the platform and then hoisted himself to safety.
He cradled the unconscious teen in his lap and was joined by Justine Omilig, 23, a nursing student at Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing, who pressed a wad of tissue against the gash until paramedics arrived and rushed Xue to Bellevue Hospital.
Garcia disappeared into the crowd and went home, barely mentioning the incident to his family.
Deeply religious, Garcia downplayed his actions as the "work of the Lord" when “On The Inside” tracked him down and turned him into a media celebrity, who was rewarded by his company.
"I am still trying to digest it all because it was just God's way of helping."
Meanwhile, Stephanie's recovery has been steady but incomplete. The 16-year-old student at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College declined to be interviewed.
Last week, her mother telephoned Garcia inviting him and Omilig to lunch at the Jade Asian restaurant.
When Garcia arrived, he saw Stephanie outside, waiting for him with a bouquet of flowers.
The two hugged and she led him to meet her parents inside the eatery, where they swapped stories about their families for the next two-and-a-half hours.
“We had a very nice meal,” Garcia said.
When it was over, the group hugged for a final time.
“Don’t let this be the last time we get together,” Garcia said.
“Everyone said, ‘OK.’”