By John Friia
For the past 13 years, people visiting the August Wilson Theatre, located at 245 W. 52nd St., have seen Natividad Nery welcoming patrons and keeping the theater clean. To say that Nery likes to help people would be an understatement. Whether working at the theater or taking the subway and walking around, Nery is never shy of extending a helping hand toward individuals.
“I like to serve the people and make them happy,” Nery clearly stated.
Not only are the patrons of the theater respectful and considerate, but Nery also explained that his co-workers are very caring and appreciative. “We all help each other and look out for one another,” he said.
There have been many people that Nery assisted while working at the theater. One time, he vividly remembers, a mother and daughter came to see a production. The daughter was in a wheelchair and the mother seemed worried and unsure what to do in this situation.
Noticing her concern, Nery felt that he needed to do something and went to speak to the mother. He said to her, “Everything will be OK.” The theater had a chair lift to help disabled people get to their places inside the theater. After everyone was settled, Nery went to speak with the mother and told her, “You must not be nervous around you daughter, because then she will feel uncomfortable.”
He recalled that the mother expressed immense gratitude and thanked him for his understanding.
Around three months ago, while Nery was waiting for the subway he witnessed someone fall onto the tracks while a train was approaching the station. Like always, he quickly went into action and realized what he needed to do. With the help of other onlookers, Nery was able to get the gentleman off of the tracks just in time and saved his life.
“If we waited another 30 seconds, the train would have hit me,” Nery said.
Nery came to America in 1983 and has been married for 25 years. The theater cleaner lives in Staten Island with his wife and mother-in-law. He has five children. One of his sons is enlisted in the military and has been deployed to Iraq three times. He is currently stationed in Hawaii. Nery’s other children live throughout the five boroughs.
He’s grateful to receive a Building Worker of the Year Award.
“Thank you to the people that have nominated me. It is very satisfying and motivates us to do what we do,” he said.
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