Horace Mann Hero: Jensen helps passenger in car crash

Ayesha Sen, Staff Writer

Last Friday, Head of Facilities Management Gordon Jensen jumped in to help a woman and her dog in a crash. Returning to campus, Jensen encountered the car flipped over on its side. Upon realizing the severity of the situation, Jensen pulled over and looked into the car, noticing a passenger in the driver’s seat, he said.

Jensen tried to open the passenger door but was unable to, he said. So, he went to the rear of the car and opened the hatch in order to speak to the passenger, named Elaine Taylor, who seemed disoriented. Jensen instructed Taylor to open the sunroof, but because she seemed hazy, he gave her further direction by going back to the windshield and pointing to the switch for the roof, after which Taylor was able to open it a bit. After this, Jensen reached in through the small opening and opened the roof all the way. Then, Jensen reached into the car and turned it off since it was starting to smoke heavily from the exhaust.

Once Jensen took the necessary precautions, he knelt down, introduced himself to Taylor, and asked for her name. Taylor was most concerned about her dog, Thelma, who was under her arm and seemed scared, Jensen said. So, he reached in and took Thelma and her carrier and put it into his car to keep warm.

Then, Jensen went back to the vehicle to keep Taylor occupied by engaging in conversation until the emergency vehicles arrived. Once the ambulance arrived, Jensen gave the emergency technicians Taylor’s information and stepped back while they stabilized the car and took her out through the sunroof.

Taylor wanted to take Thelma with her to the ER, but Jensen suggested instead that he take her dog home and look after it, he said. Then, he made sure that the police had all of his information, and noted Taylor’s info as well. Jensen then went home while Taylor was transported to Harlem Hospital.

After Taylor was transported to the hospital, at around 10 pm, Jensen received a phone call from Taylor asking “are you the person that has my dog?” Jensen told her that he was with the dog, and that she was fine. Taylor then told him that she was being released shortly and would like to pick up the dog, Thelma, by taking an Uber to his home. Jensen offered to pick her up and bring her home, bringing Thelma along with him so that she did not need to Uber.

Jensen picked Taylor up from Harlem Hospital and drove her home to her building in Riverdale. “We had a nice discussion on the way home and told each other about ourselves and our families,” Jensen said. “She was very appreciative.”

Jensen followed up with Taylor the next day and asked her how she was doing and if she needed anything since he knew she did not have a car. She told him that she was sore but doing well, and the two have talked a few times since.

Taylor is very appreciative of Jensen for helping her during her time of need and even wrote to Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly about making a donation to the school in Jensen’s name, she wrote. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Mr. Jensen for helping me and my puppy,” Taylor wrote. “You have a wonderful person on your team and I will never forget or give up hope that there are still good people in this world and I was lucky I found him that night.”

Jensen is ultimately grateful that he was there and able to help Taylor, he said. “We would all want someone to help us if we were in that situation,” he said. “My Christian upbringing and faith has taught me to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Jensen is grateful that he was able to perform this “act of kindness,” as Kelly called it in his email. “I can say that and believe it but also needed to act upon it as well,” Jensen said. “I don’t feel what I did was anything beyond what any one of us would do in the situation and was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to be able to help.”