“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.
By the time Jessica boarded her train, she was exhausted. She had already anticipated some overcrowding but she at least hoped that she could find a seat to rest for her hour-and-a-half-long journey.
She shoved past people standing in the aisle and looked for an open seat. She walked through the carriages in vain until finally, she saw one.
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.
He was getting more stern now. “Ma’am, take off that bag or I’ll take you off the train right now,” he said. Jessica could feel the anger of the crowd. She must have been acting in this entitled manner for a while.
“If you remove her, we’ll have one more seat,” another passenger yelled from the back. But this just made things worse.
The entitled woman then looks up and shouts to a passenger standing near her: “You’re not disabled, you’re not pregnant. I don’t want your bed bugs. I don’t want your smell. You’re disgusting.”
Jessica couldn’t believe the woman’s audacity. She obviously thought she was too good to be on the train in the first place. Still, she carried on.
“This is my personal space!” the young woman screamed. “No, it’s not,” replied another passenger. Now, the officer was quickly losing his patience.
She continued, “I don’t care if I’m 90 pounds, 50 pounds, or 300 pounds, this is my personal space!” Jessica suddenly understood why everyone was looking at her with such disdain. Meanwhile, the officer reached his boiling point. He had enough.
“I want her off the train. Get her off the train,” he said angrily as he waved at his fellow men to escort her off. The young woman looked shocked. Completely rattled that anyone could tell her what to do.
“You want your personal space? You’ll have it outside,” he declared as an erruption of applause echoed in agreement from the passengers.
The woman stared at the officer over her phone – looking incredulous that someone had called her on her rude behavior. But she still wasn’t backing down.
Still, she point-blank refused to comply, even though she had delayed the train by 25 minutes already. But the officer wasn’t about to back down either.
Walk Of Shame
Reluctantly, the woman sat, unmoving in her seat until the other officers started to stride towards her. She rolled her eyes and shook her head as she rose from her seat and took her bags.
She left the train with the officers with an attitude Jessica had never seen. Jessica wondered how someone could feel so entitled as to make other people stand for her.
The video was posted online by a fellow passenger and its viewers were equally frustrated with the young woman as the train passengers.
“Perfect example of someone who feels “entitled… just plain selfish,” one user wrote. While another added, “When a whole bunch of strangers asks you to leave, you should know something is wrong.”
Everyone Felt The Same
“I’m glad someone recorded it. Her bad behavior will haunt her for a long time because of this video. It’s not hard to be kind,” one YouTube user wrote.
“Girl…. buy yourself a car or a helicopter where you can decide who gets in or not, lol,” another wrote. But another user brought up a good point: “‘You’re not disabled’… plenty of people have non-visible disabilities! What a vile woman.”
NJ Transit Speaks Out
In reaction to the now-viral video, a spokeswoman for NJ Transit said: “We encourage customers to make every seat available by placing bags on their laps or on overhead luggage racks and complying with the direction of train crews.”
In response, the woman who uploaded the video assured her that passengers weren’t upset at NJ Transit, but rather at the woman who had delayed everybody’s trip.
Taking A Seat
After the young woman left and the officer gave the train the all-clear to start moving again, Jessica was gestured to take the seat by another passenger standing beside her.
It was such an opposite reaction of what had just taken place that Jessica couldn’t help but feel extremely touched by this kind stranger. It was like he restored her faith in humanity right there and then.
Thankfully, Jessica 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.
“It’s the price you pay for living in a city like New York. There are both good and bad displays of behavior all around us. That’s what makes us human right? Seeing something bad and making it right”.