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Public Transportation Causes People to Go

Lauren Carmody

For all you commuters out there, you might be able to appreciate this post. At least once a week (and I’m lucky it’s not more than that), I have the pleasure of taking Metro-North into and out of Grand Central in New York City and I always wonder what causes people to shape-shift into versions of Mr. Hyde.

I understand it’s the end of the day and that we are tired after a long day of work but that’s just it—we are ALL in the same boat. But rather than creating a situation that prompts empathy; it instead causes people to be enraged.

Case in point: Yesterday, as I was walking through Grand Central (and rolling along with my small carry-on suitcase), a woman plowed into the roller bar of my suitcase as she was walking perpendicular to me. Now, I was just walking at a normal pace but she was typing on an iPhone and must not have seen that I was rolling a suitcase. As my suitcase fell to the ground, my immediate reaction was to apologize, so I did but rather than accept my apology (for something that was clearly not my fault), she huffed, rolled her eyes and stomped off. I wish it didn’t bother me enough to blog about... but it did.

I would rather the situation I faced a few months ago when I was on a packed train and had to stand for a portion of the trip, which is not the bad part. I got stuck to the token passenger who chose to overindulge in an alcoholic substance, so while he was also “standing,” his stand included more of a lean, which as we rode, ended up more of a “lean on Lauren” situation. But I’d rather deal with the smell of whiskey exuding from a stranger leaning on my shoulder on a packed train than the woman who huffed and puffed and blew my suitcase over.

I know there are a whole bunch of civilized people out there in the world; I just wonder why they aren’t taking public transportation.

Now, from a colleague, I know it’s not much better on the NYC public bus system or the subway but I would love to hear your best public transportation story. And if I could turn this into a PSA for a hot second, I would implore people to take a minute to realize—oh wait. Everyone is hot. Everyone is tired and everyone wants to get home. So, relax and exercise a little civility on your next trip home. It won’t hurt, I promise. CJP

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