When I was 14-years-old, I woke up to a helicopter hovering in my backyard, blue and white lights scanning my wall, and a man seeking refuge from the police in my bedroom.
Time slowed. I remember feeling the shock make its way from my feet to my head until I realized I had options. I could yell and wake up my father, or I could have a conversation. I decided on the latter and immediately switched modes.
I invited this man, only 4-years-older than me, to sit down, and for the next half hour, we talked about how green and blue were his favorite colors, how he liked to play basketball with his friends, and how we sometimes find ourselves in situations we never expect.
That night, I learned the power of conversation and how it can transform a frightening and anxiety-filled situation into one grounded in empathy, curiosity, connection, and kindness.
As I rode the subway for the rest of the school year, I became acutely aware of how little people talked to one another. And over the next 14 years, I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool if people talked to each other?" Finally, in October 2020, I conducted an experiment where I tried starting 100 conversations. To my surprise, most people couldn't stop talking.
Courageous people, many of whom leave the comforts of their homes, start again in New York City. I started the Subway Social Club because it's the best place for us to learn from one another. Creativity flourishes here.
On the one hand, the Subway Social Club is about learning how to talk to people. And on the other hand, it's about confronting our implicit biases and doing the necessary reflective work.
Because once we understand how to connect to people, the question becomes, who are we not talking to and why?
Thank you for showing up and being a champion of people and public transit.
When we ride together, we move forward together,