BUCKTOWN — After hearing a woman scream in distress and watching a man flee, a worker hired to hang fliers on doorknobs touting a sandwich shop's "freaky fast delivery" did something freakishly fast himself: run.
"I figured she was screaming as a result of him doing something to her," Abraham Lindsey, 18, said.
Lindsey left the porch in the 1800 block of North Winnebago Avenue in Bucktown that he was standing on with a stack of fliers and chased after the man.
After the man took a stumble, Lindsey was able to jump on him and tackle him to the ground.
Though it took only "two or three minutes" until Shakespeare District Police arrived, by Lindsey's estimate, "it felt much longer" as he struggled to keep the man pinned down.
"He was trying to choke me out, to fight," Lindsey said.
It turned out that the man, Theron Gilmore, 48, had snatched the woman's iPhone out of her hand, prompting the screams, police said.
Gilmore, of the 1700 block of North Mason Avenue, was charged with one count of robbery in the incident. A convicted felon, Gilmore has 20 arrests, primarily for motor vehicle theft, according Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police Department spokesman.
Lindsey said when the incident occurred, about 12:15 p.m. April 28, it was his second day on the job at Jimmy John's.
He escaped with minor cuts and bruises — and accolades.
On Saturday, Lindsey received a certificate of appreciation from the Chicago Police Department.
Shakespeare District Sgt. Gerald Breimon stopped by Jimmy John's at 1557 N. Milwaukee Ave. to present a certificate of appreciation to Lindsey.
"Due to the heroic actions of of Abraham Lindsey, a convicted felon was charged with robbery and removed from the streets," the certificate read.
In addition to praise from authorities, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) presented Lindsey with a letter of commendation.
Steve Jensen, president of the Bucktown Community Organization, gave Lindsey a Social Act of Courage Award from the neighborhood group, as well as a $100 Visa gift card.
After the short ceremony, Waguespack said, "For [Lindsey] to step up the way he did, it was fantastic."
Waguespack lauded the sandwich chain for having the type of employees that "believe in community."
Jensen added: "We appreciate when citizens get involved. His actions set an example for others. We are proud to have men like Abraham participating in the community and helping out fellow human beings."
Born in Chicago, but having lived in many places before arriving at Mercy Home, which serves as a safe haven for youths from broken homes, Lindsey is working to obtain his GED.
Lindsey said he plans to study political science at a university with a goal of being a professor.
Lindsey counts weightlifting as a hobby and history, reading and writing among his favorite areas of study. His favorite book, he said, is Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, "Brave New World."
Scott Bielaski, operator of the Wicker Park Jimmy John's franchise where Abraham works, has been volunteering at Mercy Home for about three years.
Bielaski teaches job interviewing skills to youths and began hiring Mercy Home boys to work at his store about a year ago.
Lindsey and another Mercy Home youth pass out fliers a few days each month for the sandwich shop and help with janitorial work, while another group home resident is currently in training to be a sandwich maker, Bielaski said.
Bielaski described Lindsey as "a very passionate kid, hard working, straight-laced."
"I knew I would hire him after talking with him for a few minutes. He's an all-around good kid," he said.