I watched a young girl of about 5 years old board the subway with her father. It was a warm day and the father seemed exhausted as he scanned the car for an empty seat for him and his daughter. The young girl pushed her way through the crowd to find a vacant metal pole that she could use to steady herself on her feet as the train bounced around. She didn't seem to mind that there were no available seats. At the next stop, a swarm of people left the train and before a new swarm could board and fill the empty seats, the little girl moved quickly to take a seat and save one for her dad.
Commuters always sit in silence on the subway. There could be a singing musician passing through the car, a homeless man making a scene, or a mouse scurrying across the floor, and most New Yorkers wouldn't flinch or even look up. But something about this little girl enchanted those near her and they smiled at her. She smiled back and told her heroic tale of getting a seat for her and her dad.
"See, you have to be standing right near one when someone gets up to leave and make sure you sit down right away." Encouraged by the nods and smiles of strangers, and eager to share her knowledge, she continued.
"I know it's our stop when the train stops 3 times. And when you get off, you have to be careful stepping over the platform."
One woman said, "Well you're quite the expert." She glanced kindly at the girl's father who explained,
"We're new. This is all a new adventure."
The girl was deeply offended by this, "Nuh uh! I've rode the subway a lot before!"
"Oh you have?!" her dad challenged. "When?"
"The only source of knowledge is experience."