Let’s just say right up front, given the prejudices against heavily made-up working class women, that no one would expect this woman to be a giant among us. But so much for prejudice.
Rachel Macy is a 45-year-old single mother of five children who takes the train three times a week to community college in Portland. She was on the train & witnessed the incident from its beginning when racist supremacist Jeremy Christian boarded the train & began shouting racist taunts at a Black teenage girl & her Muslim friend in a hijab. She said she was afraid to look because as a person of Native American ancestry, as “a woman of color, I didn’t want him to notice me.” She watched as three men came to the aid of the girls & tried to come between them & the assailant. She witnessed the death threats against the men & the stabbing attacks on them.
After the attack, the assailant fled the train at the next stop & most of the passengers fled behind him. When Michael Kennedy commuting home from work in the next car heard the commotion his first thought was of the Spanish train & London Tube bombings. “We’re sitting ducks here,” he thought. But when he saw Ricky Best collapsed on the floor, he ran to help & administered CPR to Ricky, saying “Stay with us. You are strong. Stay with us.” Kennedy said “It never occurred to me to do otherwise.”
Macy said Taliesin Namkai-Meche stumbled down the aisle holding his neck & saying “I’m going to die.” She told him “We can handle this. Lay down,” & pulled off her shirt which he pressed to his fatal wound. According to her, another unidentified man helped her console Namkai-Meche to keep him from panicking. “I just kept telling him, ‘You’re not alone. We’re here,” Macy said. “What you did was total kindness. You’re such a beautiful man. I’m sorry the world is so cruel.”
Macy remained on the train until police & medics arrived. Probably partially in shock, she didn’t leave until a police officer said to her “You did what you could, it’s time to come off the train.”
Kennedy said he hasn’t slept since the attack. He wants the Best family to know that Ricky was “surrounded by people who were soothing him & caring for him. He did not die alone.” He also said he wants the incident labeled what it is: a terrorist attack. “I want that to be clear,” he said.
Best’s son said the family wants people to know what his dad said often in his life: “I can’t stand by & do nothing.”
(Photo is Rachel Macy on left; Michael Kennedy on right from KGW)