Fourteen months after subway motorman Garrett Goble died in an arson attack on March 27, 2020 the transit worker’s likeness is now enshrined at his home station of Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College.
In an emotional dedication ceremony on Monday, Goble’s mother, wife and two children remembered him as they helped the Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveil a plaque recognizing his last efforts in life: to see the riding public off the 2 train at the 110th Street-Central Park North station that was set ablaze by an arsonist.
“He tried that day, that morning to get to safety. He tried so hard because that was my son, he gave his best in whatever he did,” said Vicki, Goble’s mother, on Monday. “Getting good grades in school, going all the way to graduating college on the dean’s list with a bachelor of science… He had an easy, secure way about him. He had swag, he was handsome, but humble. His friends leaned on him.”
Goble’s widow, Delilah, explained how she knew she found the right person when they met, while he was working an armored vehicle company and she in retail. Before long, they would start a family and Goble would go to work for the MTA.
“I want people to remember him for his job as a train operator, but I also wnat them to remember Garrett as a wonderful husband, son and father; a man who worked the night shift, but who never missed one of his son’s events at school,” Delilah Goble said. “Many times, straight from the overnight shift at work, he would come home and take care of [their youngest son, Hunter]. He never missed opportunities to be with his children. I must say, I was spoiled by this man. I never wanted or needed anything because he always made sure his family was good.”
Garrett Goble’s death came in a shocking manner as the city’s transit system suddenly became devoid of the riding public due to COVID-19. Homeless New Yorkers and mentally ill members of society seemed to take their place, crowding train cars and stations with belongings.
The arsonist responsible for the death of Goble did so by lighting a shopping cart on fire.
Goble was not the only one in the MTA workforce to suffer from the pandemic.
Up to 164 MTA employees died of COVID-19 over the course of the health crisis, a fact that has proven painful for interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg.
“It’s been a long year for us. It’s hard to believe everything that we have gone through to get to this day.” Feinberg said, pausing from time to time in an apparent effort to fight back tears.”Delilah and Vicki, I hope that you can feel how much Garrett was loved by all of us and respected by all of us. I hope you will feel it when you see the mural downstairs and when your family visits.”
Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano said the organization that represents thousands of transit workers within the agency will continue pushing for more safety on subways and buses as they have been since before the pandemic when attacks on the workforce seemed to be getting worse.
In recent weeks, however, after violent attacks on transit workers has become a near-daily headline, both the union and the agency have been banding together to pressure Mayor Bill de Blasio for more cops on trains, platforms and buses.