Stars-Earn-Stripes-JW-Cortes-Staff-Sergeant-Tyler-Dodd.jpgReality television and reality appear to have intersected in an unexpected way.

In August of 2012, J.W. Cortes, one of the military “operatives” featured in the summer 2012 NBC reality show “Stars Earn Stripes” had an encounter on the streets of New York, where he now works as an officer for the New York MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority).

As previously reported by Zap2it, Cortes was on duty at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan when he responded to a call for an police officer needing assistance at the corner of Vanderbilt Ave. and 43rd street. There he found an officer and two men in an altercation.

One of the men was arrested, and the other turned out to be Tyler Dodd — who claimed at the time to be a former Marine and Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran — who had chased someone after witnessing a robbery. Dodd recognized Cortes from “Stars Earn Stripes,” and received a caution from the officer about becoming involved in such an incident in the future.

“He was just so humble,” said Cortes, pictured above with Dodd. “He told me he was a staff sergeant, showed me his wounds. I was so in awe of him, just how nice he was.”

After Monday’s terrorist bombing attack at the Boston Marathon, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mentioned a Good Samaritan named “Tyler” during his Tuesday news conference, explaining he had helped injured 20-year-old Northeastern University student Victoria McGrath.

As reported in the International Business Times, McGrath knew only the first name “Tyler,” but later, after his friend saw Patrick’s message, “Tyler” revealed himself to be Tyler Dodd, who appears to be the same man who encountered Cortes on the streets of New York last year.

In speaking to CNN’s Piers Morgan, Dodd, reported to be an unemployed oil-rig worker who moved to Boston last year, said, “Out of all the people that I was able to console and help, she stuck out in my mind more than anyone else, for some reason. We had some kind of unspoken bond.”

Later, speaking to Fox News, Dodd said, “She asked me not to leave her. She was holding my hand. We had some kind of connection on a spiritual level.”

Dodd seems to have a talent for showing up when people need help and comfort.

UPDATE: It’s now not clear that Dodd was in the military. He told Morgan he was employed on offshore rigs, where he received first-aid training, but he didn’t mention having been in the military.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare