A life is worth so much more than a cellphone

Treasure our lives and those of our families.

It’s easy to think we and our children would know better. Of course, we wouldn’t stand too close to the subway platform edge or go down to the tracks to retrieve a dropped phone. But we all know it’s not that simple.

The tragic death of 13-year-old Dina Kadribasic reminds us of what’s important, even if just for a moment. The teen jumped onto the subway tracks at the 63rd Drive-Rego Park stop in Queens on Sunday to retrieve her cellphone and was hit by an oncoming train.

Even as we mourn the loss of a young life, we also can take time to consider our own reactions, our instincts and the choices we make.

Perhaps you’re standing on a subway platform right now. You have the chance to step back while waiting for the train, to put your phone away while waiting in the crowd or to think about what truly matters.

Or perhaps you’re at home with your family. It’s a chance to remind ourselves and our children that while phones, tablets or wallets seem so critical to our lives, they’re just objects. They are of no consequence compared with our safety.

We know that, of course. But in the moment, the impulse is to worry about the loss of an item that contains so much of ourselves, to worry about the contacts, photos, or personal notes or texts. Then there’s the expense or, for younger riders, the concern about what parents might say. The instinct is to go after an item, to retrieve it from the tracks, to run after a moving bus where it was left or to head back across the street where we just dropped it. It’s the immediate choice to put our safety aside — just for that moment. It’s human nature, perhaps, to assume we’ll be fine, we’ll be back on the platform or sidewalk in no time. It’s the moment when we think we are invincible, or simply that what happened to Dina wouldn’t happen to us.

But Dina’s story tells us it’s not that simple. It reminds us there’s always another path — in this case, asking a subway worker for help. It tells us to stop and think, and certainly to treasure our lives and those of our families.

Remember this moment as you consider the decisions you’d make.

The Editorial Board