The Brooklyn Bike Patrol, an all-volunteer escort service that walks women home after dark, shut down its services after founder Jay Ruiz suffered two heart attacks earlier in the week.
“I’m so sorry to all the women who depend on our service,” Ruiz posted on the patrol’s Facebook page on Friday morning.
Ruiz initially thought he had heartburn, but finally went to the hospital after he started vomiting. Doctors ran tests that revealed the two heart attacks.
The 48-year-old said he was shocked to find out he had heart problems.
“I ride 200 miles a week and do 100 pushups a day,” he said from his hospital bed. “I thought I was perfectly healthy.”
Even though Ruiz manages a handful of volunteers who help the service reach women at 55 subway stops across Brooklyn, he said that none of them were regular enough to take over running the service.
“Hopefully, I can come back someday down the line, but right now I have to concentrate on my health,” he said.
Ruiz started Brooklyn Bike Patrol in 2011 in the wake of a series of gropings in South Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington. The service gained more attention in December of last year after a handful of sex attacks in Williamsburg.
The service requires women to call 45 minutes before they expected to be at their subway stop so that the escorts could be there waiting to walk them home when they arrived.
After Ruiz posted the announcement on Facebook Friday morning from his hospital bed, there was an outpouring of support from women who had used the service.
“Thank you for what you’ve given to Brooklyn,” said Diane.
“Thanks for keeping an eye out for the ladies of Brooklyn,” said Chloe. “You’re kind of the coolest.”Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@c