We recently had the pleasure of hosting the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Commissioner Lorelei Salas on their Community Listening Tour. Over the course of two visits, they visited four of our highest level ESOL classes (65-75 students) to solicit input from them about how the DCA can help them tackle predatory business and workplace practice, comply with laws, build their assets and access financial assistance services. Thank you, Commissioner Salas, and thank you, DCA!
Here’s another story about the subway written by one of our Class 1B students. When you finish reading, take the quiz to test your comprehension!
The New York Subway Experience
Xiu Ying Lin (Lisa)
Time to work. I took the train the train to 34th Street, and there were many people on the train. I heard some strange sounds. From the direction of the sounds I saw a white guy in his thirties. He was tall and thin and he was standing in the middle of the train. He was wearing a light blue suit and khaki pants. He looked well-dressed and clean. He looked like a Wall Street office worker.
But when he spoke his mouth twitched to one side, and saliva almost flowed out. His tongue made it hard for him to speak and he spoke slowly with a lot of difficulty, one word by one word coming out. His left elbow and wrist were bent. His left leg was lame too.
“I had a stroke a month ago. I lost my job. I don’t have money to pay rent and no money to buy food. Please help me, help me, help me…” He looked sad. As he slowly spoke, his lame leg slowly moved. His mouth, hand, and leg twitched all at the same time. So sad: so young to have a stroke. My heart felt uncomfortable. I gave him one dollar.
I walked out of the station and I walked on 34th Street. Suddenly I saw a face. It was the subway disabled guy. But right now he was no longer lame. He was walking faster than me. His body didn’t twitch anymore. He looked handsome because his mouth wasn’t twisted to one side anymore and he didn’t look sad. He was very happy with his friends, talking on the street. Later I saw him go into a pharmacy. I was amazed. My goodness, he was a wonderful actor!
After a few weeks, on the same train, I saw him again. He was acting again. Why did he choose this job? “Help me, help me…” I felt my heart was uncomfortable again. Should I or should I not give him money again? Just one dollar.
Our Adult Literacy Program Class 1B students recently wrote about experiences they had on NYC public transportation. Here’s one below, and take the quiz afterwards to test your comprehension:
On the Subway
I go to University Settlement to study English. One day after class, I went to the Grand Street station with my classmate. We stood on the platform and waited for the D train. We talked about something. We saw one train coming from far away, and we thought the train was the D train. We got on the train and sat down and continued to talk.
When the train passed the Atlantic stop and continued on, we discovered we were on the B train. We needed to take the D train to Brooklyn-8th Avenue. But the letters were small in the subway map and the train was rocking left and right. We weren’t patient enough to look at the map, so we went back to sit down.
Suddenly a strange man walked over to us and said, “Where do you want to go?” We needed to go to 8th Avenue. He said he could help show us how to transfer to the right train. When the train got to 7th Avenue, I saw the station had the Q train and I knew the Q train’s last stop is in Coney Island. It is the same as the N train’s last stop. When we got off the train, the strange man prevented us from getting off and he said, “This stop doesn’t go to Brooklyn-8th Avenue.” The train doors closed and the train continued to go on.
The train came to Church Avenue. He prevented us from getting off again, and my brain told me he was a bad person. I prepared myself to get off at the next stop. The train got to Kings Highway, and I rushed to get off, but he still followed us when we got off. Then we saw the Q train was coming. So we rushed to get in a car that had more people so he wouldn’t follow us to get in the same train car.
This experience was a lesson. I downloaded the subway map on my phone and I don’t believe all strangers. But it didn’t make me gloomy. The world is wonderful. I love all, but I trust a few.