The dramatic rescue took place at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in the Oakland Coliseum after an NFL game on Sunday between the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions.
Tony Badilla, a passenger who watched the episode, posted a video on Twitter of the two men embracing it.
He told CNN that the employee, identified as John O & # 39; Connor, was very careful to keep the crowd behind the tracks helping riders find their lane.
"As the train approached, I sat down from my seat and the crowd turned their attention to the train," he said. "I heard a commotion on my left just as the train arrived and witnessed the BART worker naturally bring the man to the ground, both falling on the deck safely as the train breezed by.
"The crowd was overwhelmed by how close a phone call was and the man was shaking," Badilla said. "The BART employee was upset with the man for being so careless, but his emotions took over and they both embraced."
According to a BART statement, the unknown man was drunk and accidentally fell onto the tracks. In a tweet, BART thanked O & # 39; Connor for his heroism. "He saved a life tonight, thank you John, show him some love," read the tweet.
O & # 39; Connor, a former railroad operator who was promoted to transport manager, worked at BART for 24 years, according to the transit agency.
"John was on the platform and made sure everyone stayed away from the yellow seat belt," a BART spokesman told CNN in a statement. "A man who was drunk by accident took the wrong steps and fell off the track as he approached a train." John saw this with other riders and shouted at the man to return to the platform. he grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him up onto his body for safety.
"I thought the train would cut it in half, honestly," O & # 39; Connor told KPIX on Sunday. "I didn't want to see this man die."
On Monday, O & # 39; Connor meets with reporters at BART station and told them he feels really embarrassed to be called a hero.
He said he was only doing his job and that he hoped that anyone else would do the same.
"I don't feel it was anything special, honestly," he said. "My honest opinion was that he wouldn't and I couldn't watch that happen."
Connor said he has seen many episodes on the tracks during his years of service and is concerned about the train pipeline that saw the events.
He added that he told the man who rescued him to pay for it.
CNN's Amanda Jackson and Braden Walker contributed to this report.