Photo Coverage: SUPERIOR DONUTS Greets Francisco Hernandez and Family
On October 16, Francisco Hernandez Jr. went directly from school to the subway and spent the next 11 days riding from borough to borough with nothing but a metrocard, $10, and a schoolbag. Hernandez, a thirteen year-old who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism that can lead to eccentric behavior and isolation), had gotten in trouble at school and was afraid to go home for fear of being punished. After an 11 day search involving the boy's parents, the New York City transit authority, police and even the Mexican Consulate, Hernandez was found at the Coney Island station stop by a transit police officer.
In an effort to hide, Hernandez removed the battery from his cell phone so that he could not be contacted.
Writes the New York Times of the ordeal: "Francisco says his odyssey wound through three subway lines: the D, F and No. 1. He would ride a train until its last stop, then wait for the next one, wherever it was headed. He says he subsisted on the little he could afford at subway newsstands: potato chips, croissants, jelly rolls, neatly folding the wrappers and saving them in the backpack. He drank bottled water. He used the bathroom in the Stillwell Avenue station in Coney Island. Otherwise, he says, he slipped into a kind of stupor, sleeping much of the time, his head on his book bag."
Hernandez comments: "At some point I just stopped feeling anything."
After reading the report in the New York Times about the Hernandez's struggle, the producers of Broadway's SUPERIOR DONUTS, currently playing through January 3 at the Music Box Theatre, reached out to the family and invited them to the December 5 matinee, with back stage passes to meet the cast thereafter, both in an effort to lift their spirits and to share the "American Dream" of Superior Donuts.
BroadwayWorld was there to capture the experience.
Photo Credit: Monica Simoes
The Hernandez Family with Kate Buddeke
Michael McKean and Francisco Hernandez
The Hernandez Family with Michael McKean