It was just a regular Christmas evening aboard Philadelphia’s Market-Frankford subway train when passenger Loreta McNeil heard a woman cry, “My water broke, my water broke,” Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI reported.
Yup, a baby was about to be born on the El train.
A group of passengers crowded around the woman and tried to help her relax and take breaths as they called 911, NBC 10 reported.
Then in rushed SEPTA Police Sgt. Daniel Caban and Officer Darrell James. They saw that the baby was clearly on its way into the world. “Get your gloves ready,” Caban told James, he recalled to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
They immediately began assisting and out came a healthy baby boy into Caban’s arms, who along with James, helped untangle the umbilical cord wrapped around the infant’s neck, the Inquirer reported.
“Inside I was just praying for the medics to come in,” Caban told NBC 10.
Those aboard the train had trouble communicating with the newly-born boy’s mother and father, who seemed to speak very little English, the Inquirer reported. The officers asked the man, “Are you dad?” who then nodded and offered up a sweater for the newborn.
Passengers knocked on the windows and gave a thumbs-up to others on the train as the mother held her new baby, the Inquirer reported.
Medics arrived and the mother and baby were taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where they are in good condition.
“I had already opened all my presents. I didn’t know I had another one waiting for me around 5:53 this afternoon,” Caban told WPVI.
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III called the delivery a “Christmas gift” and tweeted that he’s considering referring to Friday’s modified train service as “the baby delivery schedule.” He tweeted:
“For those that have asked, I have waived today’s fare for our newest rider. Congratulations!!!”
A SEPTA spokesperson told The Washington Post that nothing like this has happened aboard one of their system’s trains in recent memory.
Although rare, the world has had a few baby train deliveries. In 2012, a New Jersey woman gave birth to a boy while aboard a commuter train headed to New York City. And last year, a woman gave birth to a girl while on a commuter train in London; she was assisted by a midwife who happened to be aboard as well.