Usually, Nathan is all smiles but it’s smart to act tough on the train. Commuting can be the most dangerous part of his day. First he hops in a “taxi,” which is really a neighborhood minivan run by gang members. Then he boards the first of two trains, separated by a long wait. Everyone who rides the train gets robbed at some point. It’s just the way it is.
However, not everyone decides to intervene when two women (who were complete strangers) are being robbed. But that’s just the kind of person Nathan is. He waited until the train slowed down and chucked a can of soda at the attacker’s head. The ladies were able to escape unharmed when the thugs decided to chase after Nathan instead. He took off, down the length of the train through one car and then the next, finally running out of room to run. So he jumped. The train had slowed a bit by that point but that doesn’t change the fact that he jumped off of a moving train. When he recounts this story to me he’s got a glint in his eye. You can tell, he’s pretty proud of that move.
These days, he’s on alert during his hour-long commute to Dance for All. He’s polite to the taxi drivers but mainly keeps to himself. He scans the train car as soon as he boards, taking stock of his fellow riders and identifying anyone who might look like trouble. He makes eye contact, but doesn’t hold it for too long. It’s just enough to send a message.