Boy With Asperger’s Syndrome Rode Subway For 11 Days Straight

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This story makes me want to simultaneously sob and somehow satisfies a weird Night at the Museum fetish I have: Francisco Hernandez, Jr. is a Brooklyn-based, 13-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. After causing a minor disruption in class, he fled for the MTA, worried that his parents would scold him. The remarkable part is that he stayed underground for eleven days. According to a story in The New York Times, the young boy spoke to no one as he rode, over and over again, three subway lines, the D, F and 1. He survived on snacks–chips, bottled water, jelly rolls–purchased from various newsstands while, above ground, his parents worked tirelessly to find their runaway son.

“At some point,” says Hernandez of his experience, “I just stopped feeling anything.” The boy slept most of the day and only used the bathroom when he arrived at the Stillwell Avenue station in Coney Island. Meanwhile, his mother and father distributed over 2,000 fliers featuring a photo of their son in the red hooded sweatshirt he was wearing when he disappeared. The Times writes that “one detective told [Hernandez’ mother that] the boy was probably hiding out with a friend. She replied that her son had no friends to hide out with.” Early on the morning of October 26, a transit officer finally spotted the boy, who was in an okay state, minus some minor leg cramping.