Subway Moments

So many simple, powerful moments happen on the train.

Like when the guy in the hoodie with tattoos and chains and spikes all over played peekaboo with Squish.

Or when we watched the deaf family talk about Jesus one Sunday morning on our way to church.

Or those times –and there have been many – when an entire section of a car gets up and rearranges themselves so that our family can sit, and sit together.

Or when we met some grandparents who, on Thanksgiving Day, were doing what the 3-year-old grandson wanted more than anything to do: ride the trains. No destination, no rhyme or reason, just station to station.

One time, youngish lady stood up and, rather than sing a song and pass a cup, or tell her tale of woe and pass a cup, or pump up some music and rock out and pass a cup, she told all within earshot that she wanted them to know that they were children of God and that Jesus loved them. And then she humbly sat down and said no more.

Another time, years ago, when the girl sitting next to me on the train noticed 1-year-old Manchild eying her banana, she politely offered it to him.

And there was that time when we wound up in the same car as my sister and it took her several minutes to realize that we’d sent Manchild over to sit by her.

One of my most memorable moments was the time when we first moved to Brooklyn and a fight broke out on the car I was riding in. It was one of my first times riding with infant-Manchild but without Micah. The car was crowded, and I was standing near the guys who were going at it. Before I could even think of what to do, several tough-looking men herded me over to the end of the car and put themselves between my baby and harm’s way.

Last Sunday’s moment will undoubtedly become canonized in the Heiselt Family Book of Subway Moments. We were only on the train for two stops, just a short ride. Micah patiently answered all of Manchild’s questions about whatever the boy asks about. As we got off the train, an elderly gentleman whom we had hardly noticed quietly said, “You’re doing a good job.”

Micah could not stop smiling.

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  1. Oh I love subway moments, and miss them now that we’ve moved away. Great post! Something so delightful and insane about being so close, yet so far. Fights are the scariest, nearly had my 6-year-old mowed down by two met attacking each other on the platform. Then the ones who watch, comment, and share because they see your kids and enjoy them. So much said even if they don’t use words.


  2. WHY did this make me cry? I’m a sap.


  3. I am crying. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I am crying. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Apparently we’re both saps Katy. πŸ™‚


  5. I cried too, but I could blame that on pregnancy hormones, right? My favorite is when we are on the metro and we make a very serious looking businessman smile. That’s the best!


  6. Thank you for the stories! This is a great contrast to all the bad news stories out there; there are good people too, all around. Yay!


  7. What sweet moments! I admit, I cried. The picture with Abby is hilarious!


  8. I loved this! I remember visiting (and being clueless tourists). We didn’t realize there was construction on our line to Queens. Several tough looking guys accompanied us to the right platform, carried our bags and our stroller. It was unexpected coming from these guys but, they were incredible!


  9. Thanks for sharing, Liz. In one week I had my best and worst subway moments. One happened on the way home from church in which I was trying to manage my three children and stroller and large 9 month pregnant self safely through the subway. I got so many cranky huffs and puffs and rolled eyes. We finally arrived home with me feeling quite defeated but in one piece. A few days later I again was managing my little crew and trying to keep my button fastened over my large tummy. As we exited the subway a man and woman came over and he said, “You’re a super woman,” smiled and went on his way.


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