09 June, 2017
"I announced to the whole train I said 'Hey guy thanks for coming out today to see me walk and graduate, '" he said.
He said his friend Bobby started playing Green Day's "Time Of Your Life" on his phone in the background.
"I took the video because I felt it was so unfair he was missing his graduation", onlooker Nadiya Afzal shared with PEOPLE.
Alcantara, a nursing school graduate, said he left his home extra early - 8 a.m. - for the 10 a.m. ceremony. It soon became clear that Jerich, decked out in his full academic regalia, wasn't going to make it to the ceremony in time, and that's when his friends, family, and fellow commuters stepped in to help. That's when, spurred by Alcantara's sense of humor, his relatives and strangers on the train held an impromptu "graduation" in the subway auto.
So they held an impromptu ceremony while on the E train and Jericho was honoured with his (invisible) nursing degree from the Hunter-Belluvue School of Nursing.
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"We were stuck on the first train for about an hour and a half or two hours but a rescue train came and got us and then that one got delayed as well", said Alcantara.
Jerich Alcantara with classmates from Hunter College in New York City.
However, the delays - which went on four three hours - meant his hopes of attending the once in a lifetime event were quickly fading.
"It was a great time", Alcantara said.
The ceremony, filmed by fellow passengers and posted on social media, began when Alcantara-who was wearing his cap and gown-noticed how frustrated everyone seemed at the delay, which was caused by an emergency brake failure.