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Jericho Marco Alcantara left Jackson Heights extra early to make sure he'd make his commencement ceremony, but he got stuck on a subway
He was wearing his cap and gown, and riders staged a mock ceremony -- one gave him a virtual diploma, another played nostalgic music
Video posted to Facebook went viral, with more than 1 million views and 7,900 shares in 21 hours
The student who missed his Hunter College graduation last month because he got stranded on the subway, an hour-long ordeal during which fellow riders stepped up with a makeshift ceremony that went viral on social media, got another chance to wear his cap and gown.
Jericho Marco Alcantara, now a graduate of Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, received his real-life diploma in a personal ceremony with Hunter College President Jennifer Raab and nursing school Dean Gail McGain on Thursday, the first time such an exception has been made for a graduate at the college.
Alcantara was invited to attend the ceremony with his mother, a school representative said in announcing the event Wednesday, and this time, both of them took a car.
He says he is enjoying his brief moment in the spotlight and said he was happy to see things end on a positive note.
The ceremony for all the other grads was May 29, and Alcantara gave himself nearly two hours to get to the Brookdale campus from Jackson Heights. But his E train stopped between stations in Queens. And it stayed there.
Alcantara told NBC 4 New York he and several friends who were accompanying him for his special day didn't even go one stop before the train stalled. At the time, some reports indicated an emergency brake was pulled. Others suggested a mechanical malfunction. Either way, it turned into an hours-long delay.
"I was on track to be at my commencement at 9:15 a.m., but the delays altogether ended up taking almost three hours,” Alcantara told New York Magazine. "After 45 minutes, I knew I was already late, but I kept hoping that I’d at least make it to walking the stage."
He didn't. But he was wearing his cap and gown, and strangers stepped up to make sure he got his special moment. A friend gave him a virtual "diploma," drawing one on his cellphone. It read: "Certificate of a good job. You're a nurse now, maybe."
Someone on the train pulled out speakers and queued up some nostalgic music.
Another rider, Nadiya Afzal, videotaped the ceremony and posted it to Facebook, where it immediately went viral.
The video shows Alcantara going around hugging people as most people in his car join in the fun, despite being stuck on the train for so long. It had more than 1 million views and nearly 7,900 shares in 21 hours.