The man who saved the life of a 23-year-old British tourist struck by an out-of-control taxi cab on her first day visiting New York City now says he wishes he’d just kept walking. All the publicity around his heroic act, he says, has now cost him his job and left him struggling to pay his mortgage.
“I think I would have been better off doing heroin than being a hero,” David Justino told the New York Daily News.
The 44-year-old plumber who had been working as a foreman on a Duane Reade drugstore project in the Rockefeller Center subway station says that his bosses at Bass Plumbing and Heating Corp. got sick of all the attention he was getting and axed him rather than deal with it.
"I lost my job for saving this girl!" declared an angry Justino (pictured), who now must try to make ends meet by operating a pet store in Yonkers, N.Y., a business he says was always a side project, not his main source of income.
On August 20, Sian Green arrived in New York City for the first time. She was sitting near Radio City Music Hall enjoying the sights and sounds when a taxi, driven by Faysal Kabir Mohammad Himon, 24, jumped the curb and plowed into her.
The impact severed her left foot.
Justino sprang into action, tying his plumber’s belt around the young woman’s leg as a tourniquet. His quick thinking stopped Green from bleeding to death.
The incident received national media attention, both for Green and for her rescuer.
Justino’s ex-bosses deny that the publicity around his heroism played any role in his layoff. Instead they say, the company simply didn’t have enough work to keep him and two other plumbers on the payroll.
“Although we were very proud to have (Justino) working here, he was one of three union plumbers laid off due to lack of actual jobs the company is in the process of performing,” a company rep told the Daily News.
SOURCES: New York Daily News, Westchester News 12, The Australian