The Hunter College student whose “graduation” on a New York City subway train went viral ended up having his own ceremony after all.
Nursing graduate Jerich Alcantara was stuck underground during his commencement on Tuesday, after the E train he was on stopped between stations due to a malfunction. After rescue trains arrived to remove passengers, the 22-year-old decided to make the most of the situation and stage a graduation with his friends, family and fellow passengers looking on.
“[The] subway graduation began on our rescue train after I jokingly thanked everyone for coming to watch me graduate,” Alcantara told HuffPost on Friday. “I did it originally because everyone seemed restless. My friend, Bobby, and I then proceeded to play music and hold our own ceremony, to everyone’s amusement.”
The duo played Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” as Alcantara received a makeshift diploma his friend created on a phone. A video of the moment was shared online by passenger Nadiya Afzal and has since garnered more than 2 million views.
“Everyone’s receptiveness and positivity made me less annoyed about the whole being late for graduation situation and actually made me pretty happy,” said Alcantara, who lives in East Elmhurst, Queens.
There was a second general body commencement ceremony for Hunter College students later in the day, but Alcantara said he did not attend because he could only bring two guests and he had nine people with him.
Alcantara told HuffPost he did eventually make it to his real graduation ceremony’s venue, and his girlfriend made sure that he was able to celebrate the moment with his fellow graduates.
“I showed up at the venue right after the ceremony ended,” he said. “As I was searching for school staff and the dean to get my graduation pin, my girlfriend organized my close friends in the emptying auditorium to hold my own little ceremony.”
We hope you had the time of your life, Jerich.