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SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2016
From what originated as a discussion on simple Bus Etiquette - to whom do you, and when do you, offer your seat to - to Hogan's more generalized article on Bus Etiquette and Human Nature where our human nature determines what we do in number of situations which rely on our human nature, I found myself thinking of the more unpleasant situations on buses - and other forms of transit - that none of us are ever very excited to witness.

Whenever I begin this story, people give a chuckle, as it makes for a potentially ridiculous movie scene, which may or may not star John C. Riley, but most definitely stars Will Ferrel. I was sitting on the Sky Train, minding my own business and reading a book. I suddenly heard a loud clattering, and lots of yelling, as well as the Sky Train doors unable to close. I instantly passed this off as mindless teenaged hooligans having their after school fun. It wasn't until the yelling got louder and louder that I turned around and saw a young teenaged boy in a wheelchair fighting an old man with a walker. The boy in the wheelchair was holding the man back from getting on the train, and the two were yelling while they fought. Looking around I noticed that I was the only one in the immediate vicinity who could supposedly pass off as an intimidating alpha-male (the others on the train being young children, and their mothers). I quickly intervened, holding them apart. It was here that my human nature betrayed me - I took a look at the old man with the walker, who wasn't particularly old, and was far more abled with his legs than the boy in the wheelchair. The older one looked a little more like a trouble-maker than the innocent boy, and so I found myself siding with the wheel chair. As I tried to resolve the issue - asking the older man if he could just step off the train and catch the next one, thus putting off any further bickering, the Sky Train security showed up. I let them take it from there. It was only when the witnesses started explaining what had happened that I learned it was the boy who was at fault. And as no good deed goes unpunished, I found myself wrapped with the guilt of having sided with the wrong party, despite my feeling of proud of putting a stop to a fight that may have escalated.

I couldn't help but think to myself later on, though: Would I have jumped in if I had seen others in closer vicinity who could have easily have jumped in? What I have intervened if I had not seen the wheelchair or walker? Would I have done anything if it were later in the evening, at night time when things always seem a little more threatening?

Some time later I heard a story on NPR that cited a video which I later looked up on YouTube - an elderly lady being harassed by a younger girl. The video's based in Atlanta, and it's a little troubling to watch. But I found myself wondering: Would I have intervened?

Comments

genius_advice

genius_advice

Honestly, I wouldn't bother stopping verbal fights on the Sky Train unless it was like the case you stated. I've seen quite a few, usually to do with people bumping into each other because one person wants to exit and one wants to get into the Sky Train. (I believe it's proper etiquette to let the previous passengers of the car leave first before boarding.) One time, this guy actually got back onto the Sky Train to yell at another man with his kid for a good two stops. I mean, on top of looking really stupid and realizing there's minors nearby, I wouldn't have time to do that.

Alamir

Alamir

That video was the most ridiculous thing I saw all day! How'd she make the Soulja Boy dance look so threatening? I know why the guys were hesitant about interfering too strongly though, you can't really confront a crazy girl like that because the next thing you know she'll be "pressing charges" and like that poor guy in the video call you a rapist. The best thing though would be to just set up a barrier between the girl and old lady without laying a hand on the girl.

Sorrel

Sorrel

It always amazes me how people don't step in. I have a couple of times... but mostly when the smoking in public bilaw was put into effect last April... there was a girl smoking in the middle of a crowd of people at Broadway, right next to people coughing and suffering from it. It wasn't thoughtful at all! and some old guy brought it up politely and she yelled at him. I stepped in and she was flinging her arms about trying to be threatening defending her right to kill herself slowly wherever she pleased... her friend eventually shut her up b/c she was embarrassed, and apologized for the violent episode. But that poor old lady in the video! shame on those other guys for not stepping in!!!



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