The Teenager Who Was Subway Driver For A Day

“I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.” —Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy Train

In A Nutshell

In 1993, a 16-year-old boy stole a New York subway train—just because he loved trains and wanted to drive one. He had prepared for months, and on the day of the greatest adventure a teenager can have, he completed his route without incident.

The Whole Bushel

Keron Thomas had always been fascinated with trains. His friends had nicknamed him “A Train” as a child, which perhaps is the reason he chose the actual A train to take out cruising one day.

Well, perhaps that’s not entirely accurate. The boy had a lifelong love of trains and had spent months reading books and manuals about their operation in preparation for his big day. He managed to find a blue motorman shirt like the ones the transit employees wore, and befriended one of them—Regoberto Savio—while hanging out around the platforms. Unaware he was talking to a kid who was decidedly not a transit worker, Sabio gave up a surprising amount of information to the boy, including his employee number. One day, Thomas called up the Transit Authority and said he was Sabio, asking for any available overtime shifts; they called him back, and the fun began.

He showed up with everything—brake handle, key, safety vest—required by regulations, and for the next three hours, Keron shuttled 2,000 passengers around the city. It went off without a hitch. This was no joyride—he dutifully obeyed all the rules, made all the stops, and simply operated his train such that nobody knew anything was wrong. He would later tell the press, “I was just confident, like I knew what I was doing . . . I was saying, ‘This is my big day. I can’t mess this up.’ ”

And he didn’t. Only after he had successfully reached the end of the line and was on his way back to Manhattan did he make a mistake, taking a corner too fast and triggering the emergency brake. An inspector arrived to help, and the ride came to an end. Thomas served three years’ probation for reckless endangerment, and always insisted that he didn’t do it for notoriety, bragging rights or any other reason—he simply wanted to drive a train. Keron Thomas passed away in July 2013 of a heart attack. He was 37 years old.

Show Me The Proof

An obsession apparently blended into reality: Teen charged in subway spree
Twenty years later, man reflects on posing as train operator to take A train for wild joyride
1993 train thief Keron Thomas dies of heart attack at 37 (VIDEO)

  • Lyon

    Good for him

  • Mahathir

    Hey. that’s the train i take everyday. very shitty though…

    • P5ychoRaz

      Where are you from, Mahathir?

      • celeѕтнra

        You can clearly see a Malaysian flag on the front windows of the train.

        • P5ychoRaz

          Hmmm… I’ve never heard of that place; Thanks, Mahathir!

  • inconspicuous detective

    Poor kid. Maybe he should have had a job and been put through training by the company that owns/operates the trains or hires the conductors.

    • Tortillasoop

      I feel like this kid just had passion, and that he probably achieved way more than driving a train with his life. Just a thought.

      • P5ychoRaz

        People like this never stay in one job long; they’re too smart for the rat-race… But I agree: there is an astonishing waste of talent in America. We need more smarts, less smart-asses.

        • Ian Moone

          Unless they own their own company. Like billionaires Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Of course those are unusual cases.

          • P5ychoRaz

            Exactly: unusual but not unheard of. You’d think, with the logic of ratios, that LV’s list would include more 21st century individuals. But, unfortunately, the current status of our species causes us to end up on more “Horrible Internet Pedophiles of the 2012” than “Great Minds Who Used the Technology Available to Make Life Better.” I really wish it wasn’t the case, but I’m afraid we need some sort of cataclysm to put everyone’s lives in perspective. Life is beautiful; we live in THE safest time of earth, we live the longest and almost EVERY PERSON READING THIS COULD SUPPORT A FAMILY FOR A YEAR ON 1 PAYCHECK. I am no different, I’ll admit, but aware…

            “Everyhuman has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will
            and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom…
            The power to choose, to respond, to change.”
            – Howard Thurman

            Choose. Respond. And change the world.

      • inconspicuous detective

        Excellent point.

        • P5ychoRaz

          Tortillas always have excellent points… That’s what makes ’em good for dipping!

  • dubya

    So young to die…

  • Swain

    Happy to see picture of a Malaysian Train… KTM.. Kewl…

  • rhijulbec

    What an odd child! I love it! I’m sad he passed. How neat he did this without incident as well. Would have been a different story had it gone wrong but really neat that it didn’t and he fulfilled a dream.

  • He ain’t fit to shine McCollum’s shoes!

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