at the brink of the rink

| 12 Oct 2016 | 04:42

Pedro Francisco calls himself the doorman at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where he’s worked for 16 years. He’s quick to pay homage to his co-workers, who have been at the location for 30 and even 40 years.

“They’re all hard-working people,” he says. “They love their families. They love our country.”

He has a hard time taking credit for saving a young man from seriously injuring himself, and possibly worse.

In the spring of this year, Francisco was at his post when he noticed a young man on the wrong side of a guard railing at the plaza level of the Rockefeller Skating Rink. The man was holding on to a couple of the flag poles that line the perimeter – and he was leaning backwards.

Francisco quickly approached the teenager, talking with him until the two were face to face. He used his hands a lot, he says, which is a life-saving technique to grab someone without alarming them, if necessary.

Once Francisco saw that he had officers to back him up, a promenade post patrol officer and a NYPD officer, he made the decision to grab the man. It was not so easy because person he was trying to get was bigger in weight and height, and pulled Francisco dangerously over the railing, until he was aided by the two other officers.

The person in danger was 16, “a teenager who was experiencing troubles,” says Francisco, 46, a father of five children who knows well that life events, like a break-up or other things, can loom large in a young person’s mind.

The drop from the plaza level to the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza is about 40 feet, he says. He’s witnessed people fall and crack their skulls, and others break arms and legs while they were on the ice. So he figures that falling from that height would have been tremendously serious.

Most of Francisco’s life, he says, happens outside of work. He’s a lover of the arts. He spends a lot of time going to museums and galleries and other cultural events. He also enjoys the outdoors, and he walks about eight miles a day.

Francisco says he gets involved in many causes, most recently bringing awareness to the issue of PTSD. He explained that an average of 22 PTSD-afflicted vets commit suicide every day in the U.S. The challenge he describes is to do 22 push-ups a day, and each day nominate another person to do the same.

His location at Rock Center means a lot of celebrity sightings.

“I see stars every single day at Rockefeller Center,” he says, more than most, because I tend to look more at people’s eyes and I pick up features.

“At any moment,” he says, “you’ll see someone from SNL, a guest or a regular, or someone from the “Today Show” or NBC News or the Jimmy Fallon show.”