Unexpected delays are the bane of any subway rider’s existence, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time for a New York City college student thinking he had plenty of time to get to his graduation this week.
The glum realization that he wasn’t going to make it to Radio City Music Hall for the Hunter College commencement ceremony on Tuesday led Jerich Marco Alcantara, 22, to try to make the best of the situation.
Stuck on the E train in Queens for 90 minutes due to a brake failure and then marooned on a rescue train for another half hour, he jokingly told his fellow weary travelers, as well as his parents, friends and girlfriend, “Thank you guys for coming out to see my graduation. I appreciate it.”
It drew a cheer from his fellow passengers. They figured that since he couldn’t make the graduation, the graduation should come to him. After all, he already had the purple cap and gown ready to go.
The impromptu commencement ceremony was captured on a video by fellow traveler Nadiya Afzal, and has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook.
A friend scribbled together a picture of a diploma using an app on his phone and then passed it to Alcantara before shaking his hand. Another person cranked up the graduation favorite “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day on his or her phone.
Alcantara and his family eventually arrived right as the graduation for the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing had ended, but he still made a lasting memory from the day.
“Everyone that graduates gets one of those,” Alcantara told The Washington Post. “Not everyone gets to have a commencement in a train.”