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Good Samaritans pay to keep hero dog with owner

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Albany/HV: Good Samaritans pay to keep hero dog with owner
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Call it a Christmas miracle.

"First of all, I want to say thank you!" said 61-year-old Cecil Williams.

It could be the right amount of luck at the right time.

"I want to say thank you but I'm trying to look for some more words to describe how it really feels," Williams said.

Or maybe it's just a testament to the kindness of strangers.

Williams fainted on a subway platform in Harlem Tuesday, falling onto the tracks. The legally blind man pulled his guide dog Orlando down with him. As a train came rolling into the station, Orlando dragged his owner into a crevasse between tracks.

It was a heroic move, an instinctual one taught to many guide dogs just like Orlando. But when news came that the dog would be retired in January, Williams was deflated.

"He only knows me as his master," he said. "We're number one and two."

It was another unexpected blow for Williams. Thankfully, it was one that was recently softened thanks to the help of complete strangers.

"How can you put a price on that?" said Andrew Piera.

Touched by Williams and Orlando's story, Piera reached out to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, offering to pay for the dog's medical coverage and lifetime expenses.

It's a good deed that now has many calling him a hero.

"You are truly a hero," said one person to Piera as the emails and tweets rolled in Thursday. "I believe that what goes around comes around. If I am right, you my dear man, are going to have a very blessed life.

"It's just overwhelming," said the entrepreneur on Thursday, while he was visiting Buffalo on business.

But, he shies away from taking the spotlight.

"The real hero here is the dog. The real hero here is Orlando. I just did a simple random act of kindness," Piera said.

It was a random act of kindness, one that Piera hopes will inspire others to look at the true meaning of Christmas.

"Do something nice to someone for no reason, and you don't know how much that act will impact that individual. Pass it forward," he said. "Be the miracle."

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