"It was starting to get to me a little bit, but I wanted to be positive because it's my graduation day", he said.
But fellow passengers surprised the college graduate and made a decision to throw him a "ceremony" to compensate for the holdup. Or at least that is what he thought.
The president of Hunter College told the news station that she looks forward to personally handing Alcantara his diploma.
The train Alcantara's group was riding on suffered an emergency brake failure-which meant that instead of being early to Hunter's commencement ceremony, they were going to miss it entirely. He planned to get there at 9:15 a.m.
"I think it ended up so much better than if I was on time", Alcantara said. "So after that, they called rescue trains to pick us up and those didn't show up for another 20 or 30 minutes".
Alcantara and his family eventually did make it to the Hunter College Brookdale campus where the graduation took place, only to see other graduates standing in the street in their caps and gowns.
"I announced to the whole train I said 'Hey guys, thanks for coming out today to see me walk and graduate, '" he recalled.
So in true NY fashion, you make the most of what you've got, even if that means one of life's biggest moments has to go down on the E-train. A friend gave him a virtual "diploma", drawing one on his cellphone, while someone else pulled out some speakers and queued up some nostalgic music.
"Every graduation you go to is the same, but ours was held on the MTA, for better or worse", said Alcantara's best friend, Bobby Rahman. The whole auto cheered during his ceremony, Alcantara recalled.