On May 18, 2012, James Young and a group of friends were rushing to catch a train from London’s West Silvertown station. As he approached the track of a moving train, he tripped and fell into the gap. He was dragged underneath the train for more than 160 feet.
“Without thought, my friend’s friend, who was little known to me, dived under the train in the pitch black,” Young, 23, told me. “His glasses fell away from him as he crawled underneath, calling and trying to locate me, completely unaware which rail was electrified. He reached me conscious, with the foot severed off—it was not recovered. My arm was crushed completely and embedded with oil and dirt. [It was] basically a bag of broken flesh.”
Young was rushed to the hospital where his arm was amputated. He spent the next two weeks on a ventilator before he woke around his 22nd birthday.
Young polled the social news site for suggestions on what to wear. Monty Python’s Black Knight, and Buzz Lightyear (as “Mrs. Nesbitt”) were two of the better ideas Reddit offered.
In the end, he went as a shark attack victim, spending more than $100 on liquid latex, dyes, wax, a plush shark, and a bodyboard.
“The costume has been exceptionally well received by my friends, and my family impressed with my sense of humour due to coming along with me on the long journey of recovery from the accident,” Young said. “One of my friends thought it was cool but was reminded of seeing me with my injuries at the time. …There are always going to be memories of what has happened to me that won’t go away, so we just have to take enjoyment from the now, and the future.”
Next Halloween Young hopes to take his costume selection to the next level and make some of r/funny’s elaborate suggestions a reality—particularly the Terminator. He just needs to learn how to incorporate metallic elements into his special effects and maybe some LED lights.
“Massive thanks to the Reddit community,” Young said. “And thanks to all the female and male redditors who said I was cute. That was a genuine confidence boost to someone getting used to their new body configuration.”
Photos by James Young