“If you remove her, we’ll have one more seat”, another passenger yelled from the back. Now, things were about to go from bad to worse!
Jessica watched as her face became drenched with entitlement. “This is my personal space!”, the young woman screamed. “No, it’s not” replied another passenger. The officer was quickly losing his patience.
When driving a car, the only people that you really have to worry about are the other drivers. If everyone follows the rules of the road, then there shouldn’t be any issues. It is a different story, however, when you don’t have a car and have to use public transport. Large crowds of people cram into the train just to get to and from work.
Similar to the roads, there are certain unspoken rules on the train. When one woman decided to break these rules, everyone on the train decided to give her a lesson in train etiquette.
Jessica Huit was coming home after a long day at work. It was rush hour and she was racing to catch the train.
Living in New York City, she had gotten used to the hustle and bustle of the streets. The long commutes and the constantly packed trains. She had witnessed just about everything on these trains, or so she thought.
From Bad To Worse
Being a passenger on a packed train can be extremely uncomfortable, especially at peak times. Sometimes it’s so bad that it is nearly impossible to find a seat.
Common courtesy is that one person should only occupy one seat, leaving the others open for the rest of the passengers. Today, Jessica could not believe what she was seeing.
The woman ignored her, with earphones in her ears and her eyes fixed on her phone. She acted as though she didn’t know Jessica was there.
At this point, the train had stopped again, and security had entered the carriage. It was then that Jessica felt the tension in the train surrounding her. She looked around at annoyed faces aimed at the young woman.
An Empty Seat!
It was the last carriage. A seat lay empty beside a young woman. She looked around at all the people still standing and wondered why no one had taken the seat.
Besides a bag resting on the seat, it looked fine. She walked over to the young woman and asked her if she could have the seat. Little did she know what was to come.
When stuck in a confined space and crushed by a throng of people, there are many occasions when you might see someone doing something antisocial. In fact, sometimes the conditions on a train bring out the very worst in people.
There are people who play their music too loudly, eat too loudly, or shout conversations into their phones. But what this woman did on the train was so much worse.
The Rules Didn’t Apply To Her
“May I sit here?” Jessica asked the woman politely, gesturing to the empty seat.
The woman had her large Louis Vuitton bag sprawled next to her, effectively taking up two seats and preventing other passengers from sitting down. It was about to become clear to Jessica that this one woman thought that she was above the rules of the train.
The woman flat-out ignored Jessica, with earphones in her ears and her eyes firmly fixed on her phone. She acted as though she didn’t know she was there.
At this point, the train had stopped again and security had entered the carriage. It was then that Jessica felt the tension in the train surrounding her. She looked around at annoyed faces aimed towards the young woman.
Jessica suddenly realized she wasn’t the first to ask for this seat and to be ignored or rejected. It was immediately obvious that these officers were here to see her.
Jessica stepped back and watched the scene unfold. The officer passed her and made a beeline for the young woman. Someone must have already reported her. What did she do?
“Don’t Touch My Stuff!”
The officer motions toward her and her bag, and tells her to place it in the overhead compartment. “No…. don’t touch my stuff,” she cries, swatting his hand away.
The officer then says, sounding fed up, “Maam, put it up there or I’m gonna get you off the train right now.”
The officer reached out his hand to move her bag for her. “Don’t put your hands on my stuff!” she snapped again as she took out her earphones and looked up from under her cap.
The officer took back his hand and asked calmly, “Can we have somebody sitting there?” “No,” she replied, “I don’t want anyone sitting next to me. There’s more seats available!”
Holding Everybody Up
The man squeezed into the seat next to her couldn’t bear any more. He interrupts her tirade, saying: “It’s already a late train, you’re delaying everybody.”
The woman shoots him a withering look and continues her standoff with the officer. She refuses to budge. But the other passengers on the train had had enough.
Now, the annoyance of the crowd became undeniable as the surrounding passengers answered in an uproar. “There isn’t space!”, “No, there isn’t space!”, “There’s standing room only”, they heatedly declared.
Jessica thought this woman must have been denying everyone this seat. There were so many people standing. The officer continued.
Thankfully, Jessica has never encountered such selfish behavior on the train since that day but still wanders around the packed train after work in the hope of an empty seat.
In the same city, a similar yet very different scenario took place. Three unsuspecting individuals found themselves shoving each other for a chance at a seat. What they didn’t was the mistake they were about to make.
Charlie had been a New York resident for most of his adult life. An Alaskan native, he’d come to the Big Apple in search of job opportunities.
But although he’d do his best to try and secure an excellent job in his trained field, he soon learned that not everything in life came easy. It would all culminate in that terrible morning on that train.
Making Ends Meet
Charlie worked as security in one of New York’s high-end hotels. After many months of job searches and rejections, he decided to find something that would ensure he didn’t freeze in the cold at night or sleep with an empty stomach.
The security job was perfect for him since he’d spend the day searching for other jobs, attending interviews, and then working nights.
A Nice Routine
Charlie’s life was simple. After a long night at work, he’d take the 6 am train to his apartment to freshen up before returning to the city to job search.
He’d head back home in the afternoon for a nap before waking up at 7 pm to repeat it. His life followed a strict system that he never deviated from. But that morning, things would change.
A Different Week
The week that the incident occurred was unlike no other in Charlie’s life. The hotel had seen an influx of customers following a local event in the city.
Many people from across the globe came over to be a part of it. The hotel was bustling with activity, so Charlie had to clock in some extra hours for additional pay. He wasn’t ready for the consequences of his decision.
A Slow Night
The night that would lead to the event was a slow one for Charlie. He’d already worked three similar nights, only sleeping for four hours on each of them.
This was his final one, and he was excited to clear it so he could rush home. But his excitement stemmed from something else entirely.
Among the many job applications that Charlie had applied, one of them called him back for an interview. It was among his dream jobs with a company he’d always wanted to work for.
The excitement that washed over him was unlike anything he’d ever felt. He was giddy all week even though the amped-up night shift threatened to bring him down. He couldn’t wait to attend that interview.
Charlie’s interview was set on the final day of the week. After slogging through the hellish week, he was glad to end it before a panel of interviewers.
He cleared his shift and got his affairs in order. After a quick goodbye, he left the premises at 6 am, hoping to make the train before seven. His morning was about to change.
So Many People
The first thing Charlie noticed when he reached the subway was how bloated it was. People walked everywhere, some going to work and school, others traveling, and others like Charlie heading home.
He hurried over with his Metrocard in hand, ready to get this part of his day over with. But it would all turn sour when he walked into the train.
After settling the train’s bill, Charlie hurried in. But he found no empty seat to take a breather on. Given how many hours of sleep he’d had over the week, he’d hoped to catch a small nap on the train before reaching home.
His sight swept around, hoping to find a seat he could crash on. But there was nothing. He took a deep breath, releasing it in a sigh. He wasn’t ready for what happened next.
The Man And The Empty Seat
A fellow sitting a few paces from Charlie suddenly stood up. He was dressed in shabby clothes, with a scraggy beard that needed dire washing.
Charlie didn’t bother with him much. His sight was set on the seat the man had just vacated as he hopped off the train. But unknown to Charlie, other boarders were also eyeing the seat.
Charlie took his first step toward the man’s seat. And that’s when he saw it. Two women dressed for a nine-to-five job rushed for the same spot.
Charlie couldn’t feel his legs, given he’d been standing and walking all night. He knew he needed to be chivalrous, but his tiresome limbs wouldn’t allow it. He broke off in a hurry.
But the two women, who were nearer to the seat than him, beat him to it. Stopping with a grin, he gave them a slight nod and eased back to where he’d been standing earlier.
Whatever fight was left was up to the two ladies. Charlie didn’t want any part of it. But what the women did leave him speechless.
Nice To Meet You
Instead of elbowing each other for the seat as some angry locals did, the two women plopped on the seat with smiles.
Their builds were small, so it was easy for them to fit. The curves on their lips held on as they said “hi” to each other. They didn’t know what a grave mistake they’d made.
The train rumbled across the track as it transported everyone where they needed to be. It didn’t take long for one of the two women to come to her stop. But as she stood, the one she left behind noticed something that made her shriek.
The commotion caused the other one to turn around. What she saw made her stumble back. How could she have been so blind?
Plastered down her impeccable office suit was thick streaks of human waste, vile and disgusting. The last person to occupy the seat had left an unsavory gift before leaving.
The other woman saw the material and jumped up, realizing her suit was painted in the same. The two women screamed, and meters to their side, Charlie stifled a grin. This city was truly one of many surprises.