Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hey MTA... you want to take care of this problem?

After work today I popped onto the A train at 34th Street, found an empty seat (always a pleasant surprise) and began watching a podcast to occupy my time as the train lurched down the track.

At 42nd Street I was pulled out of my iPhone trance when I felt a sharp, stinging WHACK on the top and side of my head. I looked up to see this woman (see picture) teetering back and forth with a beer in one hand. Before I could react she threw another hand at my head (second WHACK for those keeping score). She couldn't even speak really... she just slurred her words and pointed at the gentleman standing next to her. He was appalled. Here was this man, maybe 50 years old, minding his own businesses while this drunk woman harassed me on his behalf.

"Excuse me?!" I was pissed. If she needed a seat she should have a) not been drunk, b) not smacked the crap out of me, c) not smacked the crap out of me a second time and d) asked me politely if she could have the seat.

She managed to garble something about the 50-year old, pointing to him and then to my seat.

"Sir," I said, standing, "would you like to sit down?"

He waved his hand and quietly said, "No no, I'm fine."

She then nudged him and pointed at the seat. "Stop hitting people!" I yelled. I don't like to yell but I'm not going to stay quiet while someone hits me (twice!) and then pesters another person.

She didn't like my tone and started towards me. I slipped between two other passengers and moved a few feet away, to avoid her advancing hands and to step out of what could have been a much uglier confrontation.

She then proceeded to hit several other passengers, including the gentleman who had been sitting next to me. He had his head down, not paying attention to the present situation, until she grabbed his hair. Shocked, he sat upright and pushed her away. She grabbed at his hoodie and he pushed her away. She then grabbed at a large book in his lap... and he pushed her away.

She moved on to another, then another and then another passenger. Finally, as we pulled up to 125th Street she moved again and, out of nowhere, she chest-bumped a large man who was standing off to one side. "Hey," he turned, attempting to move out of her way. Another chest-bump. "Hey! Seriously. Get off of me." (See video below. It's short since I didn't want her to see me filming and then have to deal with her a second time.) More after the video.

How are these drunken people allowed on the trains? Where are the MTA agents and police who we can turn to when we need help? The MTA continues to remove services while increasing our fares. For what I pay I'd love to have some sense of security that I can ride the train in peace without being physically attacked by drunken fools who would be better off in a halfway house.

Come on MTA... step up and help your riders out.

UPDATE at 10:59PM:
I was told my the MTA Subway Twitter account that I should have alerted a policeman or MTA employee immediately, however there was no one in the train car to turn to and to leave the train would have been moot since I would be off the train and this woman would have stayed on, riding away in freedom.

What other recourse do passengers have when situations like this arise when the train is in motion??


w_layne_h said...

man, i would have been hard-pressed not to smack her back. i am not a violent person, but that is way out of hand.

themikejones said...

Wow! That's terrible! I guess you could have pushed the speaker phone button thing and told someone. I'm not really sure how that works. And then you're left to deal with her overhearing you. Ugh. I'm sorry you had to deal with that! :(