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A Tortoise on the A-Train?

Have you ever spotted an animal in an unusual place? Like a giant tortoise on the NYC subway?

Meeting a tortoise on the NYC subway
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

At Mysterious Ways, we love spotting unusual things in unusual places—reminders that moments of awe and wonder can reach us anywhere. Our editor Rick Hamlin wrote Finding God on the A-Train nearly 20 years ago, but two weeks ago he found something even more unusual on the New York City subway—a tortoise named Roberta.

There’s certainly no shortage of odd characters in New York, but unless you’re living in the fictional world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you don’t see this every day. Rick had to know the story. The woman holding the hefty reptile explained to him that her daughter had brought home the tortoise when she was 9 years old. “Roberta was such a small thing then. Now here she is 16 years later,” the woman said. She was bringing Roberta from Brooklyn to Harlem, en route to a winter stay in Vermont. What better way than the subway?

Rick asked permission to take a photo for his Facebook page. When he returned home, he was surprised to find himself already tagged in a different photo of Roberta, on the woman’s Facebook page. One of her friends had commented, “Ok, the turtle’s one thing, but I actually know that guy sitting next to you!!! That guy is Rick Hamlin.”

Turns out that Rick and the tortoise-toter, Maria Applewhite, have a friend in common. Now they’re Facebook friends too.

Have you spotted an unusual creature in an unusual place? What’s the weirdest way that you and a stranger found out you were connected? Share your stories with us.

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