6-year-old boy becomes NYC subway conductor thanks to Make-A-Wish

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023
6-year-old boy becomes subway conductor thanks to Make-A-Wish
A 6-year-old boy got the chance to be a subway conductor for the day thanks to Make-A-Wish.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A 6-year-old boy got the chance to be named a subway conductor for the day.

Leo is autistic. Wednesday morning with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and New York City Transit, he fulfilled a heart-felt desire centered around his fascination with the subways: to serve as a train conductor... and not just on any train...

"The 4 train," Leo said.

"I think it's the rhythm. He likes the noise too. Cha-chong, cha chong. Know what's coming too. He knows the next stop," said Paula Gartenkraut, Leo's mother.

Wednesday's subway ride is the culmination of a four-year endeavor for Leo's parents. They contacted Make-A-Wish in 2019 but then the pandemic hit.

"I assume he's just looking around and enjoying the sound and the sight of it all," said Joshua Seide, Leo's father.

"You think this is something he'll talk about tomorrow and a week from now?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yeah, I think so," he said.

The Senior Vice President of Subways for NYC Transit Demetrius Crichlow, who helped make this day happen for Leo, called this not just a professional privilege but also a personal joy. He too is the father of a special needs son.

"Being able to give back for someone who has a real joy about the transportation system, loves it. It's really great to be a part of it," Crichlow said.

On Saturday, Leo, his parents and his sister, will continue their weekend family tradition of riding one of the transit system's 25 subway lines. With the 4-train now crossed off the list, what comes next?

"We were talking about this yesterday. We've ridden, he rode the 'W' yesterday, knocked that one out. We haven't ridden the 'Z,'" Joshua Seide said.

It makes sense to leave that one for last.

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