It is always disappointing when people ignore or support wrongdoers. It happens all too often these days.
On one of our recent snowy days as I hurried down the subway stairs, I noticed the train doors getting ready to close. I hurried aboard the end car and groaned as I noticed it was not only almost full, but it had a high percentage of loud, disorderly teenagers spread out on some of the seats. Some had also placed themselves strategically in front of the door to the next car.
The other adults seemed to be trying to overlook the shouting, bad language and roughhousing. I quickly assessed the situation and decided to try to mind my own business because the rowdies more than outnumbered me, and I saw little hope of any allies from anyone else.
Within no more than two minutes, a tall, husky male jumped up, went to the opposite side of the car and punched another male teen in the arm. Both of those young people laughed as the victim leaped to his feet, returned a similar blow and added a kick to the shin for good measure. The teen audience roared with laughter.
The first bully then grabbed the victim by the shoulders and, in attempting to thrust him into the wall of the car, knocked him into an adult male who was reading a newspaper. His glasses flew to the floor. He said nothing but merely bent over to retrieve his property and returned to his attempt to read.
The bully then picked up another newspaper that had been abandoned, ripped off and crumpled a sheet and tried to shove it into the mouth of the victim. The other teens roared again and shouted, More! Bully then grabbed victim by the head and appeared to be getting ready to hit his head on a pole when I was suddenly surprised to hear a very loud, nasty-sounding female voice yell, Stop that. Sit down. Thats no way to act on public transportation.
I hadnt meant to do that. It just suddenly popped out. I held my breath as the noise stopped and all the teens looked my way. I didnt know what to expect but I tried hard not to look surprised when the two bad guys separated and sat in their original seats, opposite each other.
There was silence for a minute and then one male teen mimicked my outburst, Stop that. Sit down. Thats no way to act on public transportation.
Two more joined in to repeat that refrain. The woman sitting opposite me started to laugh. I asked her to stop laughing at them but she continued. I was relieved when most of them jumped up and got off a couple of stops later. It was strangely quiet the rest of the time I was on the train. In fact, a couple of stops after the teens got off, two police officers boarded at the other end of the car.
I would have loved for them to have seen what those two stupid teens were doing. Dont young people ever consider how quickly roughhousing can turn into disaster? I wondered what had made me wait longer than I would usually have waited to try to stop them. I also wondered what made them decide to comply.
Maybe they had realized things were getting out of hand and were glad for an excuse to stop. Maybe it was that, or maybe it was because I was dressed in Army fatigues and carried an Army backpack and a nasty-looking ice chopper. At any rate, I was very relieved that no one appeared to be seriously hurt, if at all.
That incident made me wonder how far those fellow riders would have tolerated the incident if I hadnt opened my mouth. Would they have tried to help the victim if he had been seriously hurt or worse, or would they have vacated the train as soon as its doors opened?
Some years ago, I saw exactly that happen when two men robbed several people on another train. Luckily, the conductor had called ahead that there was a robbery. When the robbers bolted off the train and up the stairs, the Guardian Angels went up after them as the police came down to meet them. Sometimes justice does win in spite of those who never want to get involved.
©2003 Community News Group
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