So much for being a defender of the defenseless. I just watched a homeless man get pulled off the train by 3 transit officers and I just sat there and did nothing to amend the situation. Why didn’t I do something? I want to be world changer, a defender of the lowest rung of society, someone who’s not afraid to step up and stand for what’s right; and there I was and I did nothing to fix a problem that happened right in front of my face.
The guy that pulled off the train was obviously poor, with scraggly hair, work out shoes and old clothing. He walked on to the train with a full bag of recyclables and right away transit officers follow him onto the train and ask him for his ticket. Now of course he doesn’t have one as that would take away all of the money in bottles that he just picked up. At this point one of the transit officers start confronting this poor man with mean spirited comments such as “You think it’s okay to come onto my train without and ticket and bring all this garbage with you?” And this man was obviously speechless as the transit officer kept hounding him about threatening him with a ticket, as his two transit cronies just stood to the side and chuckled about the situation. What the fuck is this bullshit. This is not okay. Why are we kicking our poorest while their down. What bothers me most is that this guy wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t belligerent; he simply seemed like a normal guy down on his luck. Why didn’t I stand up for him? Why didn’t I stand up to these assholes? I know their doing their job, but there’s always room for some leniency. It’s not like this man is taking away space on the train that could be used by someone else, it’s 2pm, the train is practically empty!
I feel ashamed of myself for not stepping up and saying what’s right. Here was this man getting essentially bullied right in front of my face, and I just watched as he was humiliated. If I could go back and do it again I would stand up for this man who didn’t have a voice to stand up for himself. I would tell the officer that I thought he was being cold and unforgiving, that this man was in fact doing a duty to the city by keeping recyclables out of our landfills, and ask him how else this man was supposed to get around the city. But I can’t go back, I can only remember this shame the next time a situation like this pops up, and know inside that I have to do something to stop this ruthless behaviour.