Student stuck on NY train gets graduation ceremony from fellow passengers

Posted at 12:42 AM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 00:42:05-04

NEW YORK (WCBS/CNN) -.The cell phone video has gone viral: The student, dressed in cap and gown, hugging family and friends, along with complete strangers on a subway train.

Instead of walking the stage at Hunter College with his classmates, Jerich Alcantara was stuck on a stalled E-train deep under the Queens borough. So Alcantara and his best friend took matters into their own hands, and fellow passengers went along for the ride.

“I spoke loudly to everyone and said to the whole car, ‘Thank you guys so much, everyone, for coming out. Thank you for coming out and watching me graduate today,’” Alcantara said.

Someone played Green Day’s “Time of Your Life,” a favorite graduation song. There was even a makeshift diploma, written out on the screen of his friend's phone.

“Every graduation you go to is the same, but ours was held on the MTA, for better or worse,” said Alcantara’s best friend, Bobby Rahman.

Alcantara, a nursing school graduate, said he left his home extra early - 8 a.m. - for the 10 a.m. ceremony.

But then, he said, “The emergency brakes went off. The conductors couldn’t fix it for an hour and a half.”

As luck would have it, this commute to school took longer than any others he’s taken in the past four years. What should have been just 40 minutes ended up taking four hours. So in true New York fashion, you make the most of what you’ve got, even if that means one of life’s biggest moments has to go down on the E-train.

Alcantara said his real diploma will be mailed to him.

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