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Late to Graduation? Celebrate on the E Train!

Grad Jerich Alcantara made the most of a 2-hour subway delay.

Yesterday, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing’s Class of 2017 gathered at the Brookdale Campus Auditorium for their convocation. That is, except for Jerich Alcantara. Thanks to massive MTA delays, the longtime New Yorker ended up celebrating his graduation on the E train, with the help of his fellow straphangers.

Alcantara—who told NY1 he left very early for the big day—ended up stuck underground for several hours. When he realized he wasn’t going to make it, he decided to turn his misfortune into a celebration.

“When we were on the train at some point it looked like everyone was kinda upset, tired of everything,” Alcantara told NY1. “So I decided I’d just thank everyone for being there for my graduation, that it meant a whole lot to me. And they just all started cheering.”

Everyone got into it. In a short video posted on Facebook by one of the accidental attendees, smiling subway riders clear out room so that Alcantara’s friend can shake his hand and give him a “diploma” (a picture on his phone). The trapped riders then congratulate, hug, and chat with the graduate, who is decked out in a purple cap and gown. Throughout, Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” can be heard playing tinnily through a portable speaker.

“In over ten years riding the subway I never experienced anything like this,” Alcantara told NY1.

When Alcantara finally made it to school, his friends and family threw him another celebration in the empty auditorium. But you know what they say: If you can’t graduate with the ones you love, graduate with the ones you’re with.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.