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Video: Underground passengers unite for impromptu Backstreet Boys singalong

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‘Sometimes people and life surprise you and a little magic happens.’

The Backstreet Boys in their pomp

It can be an annoying experience when someone plays music loudly on public transport – but just sometimes something special can happen.

Joel Wertheimer, a civil rights attorney who also served in the White House under President Obama administration, was on a subway train in New York when a shirtless man entered his carriage with some 90s pop blaring out of a speaker.

But instead of scowling at the man or asking him to turn the music down, the passengers decided to make the best of the situation.

Wertheimer wrote: “Had a really tough week and tonight I was the subway and some guy walks between train cars, shirtless, bumping a speaker. I wasn’t in the mood for Showtime particularly. But sometimes people and life surprise you and a little magic happens.”

The carriage came together in a rendition of the 1999 Backstreet Boys hit I Want It That Way.

Wertheimer told TIME: “Everybody was mumbling the words at first and then it just sort of crescendoed. Joyful is the best word I have for it.”

And the moment even got the seal of approval from the Backstreet Boys themselves.

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