Staten Island teen's subway serenade brings joy to girl with special needs
NEW YORK CITY - What started as a simple trip to the St. Patrick's Day Parade ended up being a ride a local family will never forget.
It all started when Joseph DeRobertis, a teenager from Staten Island, broke out into song on the subway.
"As soon as we entered the car, there was a group of kids there singing a song by Dion and they were all into it," said Michael Ansbro.
Ansbro's daughter, Mary, was with him that day. Mary, who has special needs, is an avid singer herself and requested a special subway serenade from DeRobertis, the car’s lead singer.
Mary Ansboro and her father, Michael Ansbro.
"'Put my name in it.' And he did," Mary told FOX 5 NY.
"One of the girls was in the background like ‘Come on you’ve got to do it,’" her dad recalled.
DeRobertis didn't hesitate to oblige and launched into "The Wanderer," a classic hit by Dion released on his Runaround Sue album in 1961.
"We enjoyed the whole thing and couldn’t believe it actually happened the way it happened. Here she has someone with a very nice voice singing directly to her. She was extremely excited," Ansboro expressed.
The magical moment on the subway would have been enough to make Mary's day, but it was only the beginning. On Thursday, DeRobertis joined Mary and her family for a reunion, where they relived the experience and basked in the warmth of their newfound friendship.
Mary Ansboro and Joseph DeRobertis.
"I thought it was pretty cool that she was like psyched about it. I was like I usually don’t get that reaction from people," DeRobertis told FOX 5 NY.
"It was nice for you to sing to me, very nice. I love your voice because your voice means everything to me." Mary told Joseph.
"I love singing for people. I do it when my friends are on the train. I might as well make someone’s day with it," said DeRobertis.
The moment was a true "Only in New York" moment none of those involved say they'll forget.
"Here you had an entire subway car participating. It is one of those like only in New York," said Ansboro.
"Making people’s day is always something you should do and this is a great example of doing it. You make someone’s day, and you never know what can happen. Just be you," DeRobertis added.