I had to write a tragedy article for a class last semester, so I chose my dad. Obviously I can’t publish it but I thought it would be nice to share.
by Laura Cerrone
Angelo Cerrone does not like to remember his near-death experience 35 years ago. So much so, his wife barely knew it even happened.
In 1976, Cerrone was 22 years old, working for the aviation service company Allied at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, Queens. He was assigned to troubleshoot a company bus that would not turn on. Cerrone recalls the only other person was the bus driver, one with no knowledge on fixing a vehicle.
“I troubleshooted the vehicle and it still wouldn’t start, the battery was okay, so I knew the problem was elsewhere.” said Cerrone.
He proceeded to inspect the undercarriage of the vehicle. He had instructed the driver to stay in the driver’s seat with the bus in park and his foot on the brake. Cerrone remembers the moment the bus turned on – and suddenly it began to move, dragging him underneath as the driver pulled away.
“It was a burning pain. It was like a hot rash. Like I was set on fire.”
Cerrone gripped onto the bus’ chassis. “If I were to let go I would’ve been run over.”
He was dragged almost 20 feet before his screams were heard by the driver. In a matter of minutes an ambulance arrived and took the young man to Peninsula General Hospital.
For Cerrone this could have been the end to his life, or the end to his dreams working in the airline industry. As a young boy, Cerrone grew up in post-World War II rural Italy. He lived on a farm where he shared a room with four other siblings, and used an outhouse. When his father brought him home a broken bike, Cerrone fixed it. When he moved to the United States at 13, he saw opportunity all around him, the biggest of all was working for the airline industry, because to him there was nothing more powerful and magnificent than an airplane.
Cerrone had sustained lacerations running up and down his back, internally he was miraculously unscathed.
While physically he healed with a few days in the hospital and several weeks off work, he wasn’t emotionally ready to take on his job again.
Cerrone turned to a friend of his mothers named Marisa Schiavello, Schiavello specializes in spiritual prayer healing. While Cerrone attended his regular doctor check-ups to check for possible infection he also sought sessions with Schiavello. Schiavello and Cerrone’s mother would swaddle him in bandages and then pray to God for him to heal.
“Emotionally it helped, made me feel that God was on my side because I wasn’t killed.”
Cerrone now lives in a house he worked years to build with a wife and three kids, a cat, and two bunnies. He still works for the airline industry at American Airlines where he gets to watch airplanes take off and land, still fascinating his inner-childlike awe.
Cerrone reflects on everything he has now and imagines it could of all been very different.
“The scariest thing about this ordeal is that I thought it was the end of my life.”