It was an unexpected day for Jessica Hoot when she got off from work. She thought it was going to be just like any other day where she gets off work, either stops by for a bit of food, or gets on the next train to go home and get comfortable. However, this time, this day proved to be such an eventful day for her. She had such a busy day and just wanted to be relaxing at home, so she went straight to the train station.
But this ride proved to be life-changing, not for her, but for the woman she was about to meet inside the train. Whether you drive your own car or choose to ride public transport, you will need to follow these unspoken rules. They are instilled for your own benefit and for others as well. That’s why, if you follow them, you should be able to experience hassle-free rides. Riding on public transport, though, is an entirely different thing.
If you don’t have a car or would much rather prefer riding the train to get to work much faster, you must understand that there are boundaries and limits to your entitlement. It is public transport, after all.
Jessica had a long day of work behind her and she just wanted to get home and get comfy. So, as soon as she headed out, she proceeded to the train station where she would wait for her train to arrive. Little did she know she was about to witness something life-changing.
It was rush hour when she headed to the train station. She really could not wait to get home because even though she already knows how busy New York City can get, she really just dislikes being crammed up tight in a carriage full of strangers. When you’re someone who has to go through the hassle of long commutes, you will need to stomach shoulder to shoulder rush hour and having people push up against you.
Most of the time it gets so bad that you can barely breathe without inhaling so much as the person’s breath next to you. And sometimes, it’s almost impossible to find a seat for you to get comfortable. It is also common courtesy for a person to be sitting and taking up only one seat, no matter how many bags you have on you. So, if you plan on traveling and using the train with a lot of baggage, you can make use of the space under your seat or on the overhead bin.
Jessica barely had any energy left in her to move her feet in search for a seat. She was going to travel for about an hour and a half, so she needed somewhere she could rest. The people piling up into the carriages did not help her one bit. She paced through the carriages, squeezing in between people to get lucky and find herself a seat.
When she came to the last carriage, she found a seat next to a young woman. She glanced around and wondered why no one had bothered to take it. Beside the woman was her bag, and so she approached her.
The woman she was approaching had a hat on and earphones plugged into her ears, all while looking intently at her phone. “Can I take a seat here?” Jessica asked the woman, pointing to the vacancy just right beside her. The man next to it looked to Jessica and to the woman. The woman had put her Louis Vuitton bag next to her, practically taking up two seats, which caused other passengers to deviate from her. She was holding on to the bag, making sure nobody would dare touch it.
The woman did not move an inch and did not even look at her to acknowledge that she heard her. Jessica waited for the woman to respond to her. She was concentrated on her phone too much to even care about what was happening in her surroundings or even to Jessica, who she had completely ignored on purpose.
This was going to be a very long ride, thought Jessica. The woman had pretended that she was unaware of Jessica, just busily typing through her phone and listening to music. At this point, the train had come to a stop, and more people were piling in. Jessica also noticed security enter the carriage, obviously searching for something or someone.
As soon as people saw the NJ Transit cops come in, they were relieved. Jessica noticed this. She then suddenly realized that she may not have been the first person to ask this of the woman, only to be refused, dismissed, or completely ignored. She now knew that she was the cop’s target.
Jessica took a step back and observed from a few steps away. The cop walked by her and proceeded to approach the woman. Someone must have already reported her for the cops to come rushing in like this. One cop stood in front of the woman and motioned for her and her bag. He then went on to tell her that her bag is to be put in the overhead bin so other people can sit.
The people inside the carriage were watching everything unfolding before them, but they had not expected her to do this. She swats the cop’s hands away from her bag and screams, “No, don’t put your hands on my stuff!” The people were in disbelief, including Jessica. She was right with her assumptions, and she knew that the cops needed to remove her from the train.
The officer had only tried to extend his hand to her because he wanted to help her move her bag to the luggage trunk above. She yells at him again as she pulled out her earphones and looked up from under her hat, telling the cop not to put his hands on her bag.
Jessica and the rest of the passengers were mortified at her behavior. A cop holds authority and should be respected. The cop was only trying to help her and the passengers, so no one is none the wiser. The cop told her politely, “Can we make someone sit there?” With that, she answered, “No, I don’t want someone sitting next to me. There are more seats available.”
Everybody was shocked to say the least at how the woman had just refused to listen to the cop. There were already a lot of people making side comments from the confrontation, and it was becoming clear to Jessica that this was not going to be an easy one. Everyone has just had enough of the woman.
The poor guy that was sitting right beside her, Louis Vuitton bag, could not just sit and wait anymore. He cuts her off, saying, “It’s already a late train, you’re stopping everyone.” As soon as he said those words, the woman looked at him with pure dislike.
The argument was growing heated, and the passengers in the carriage were having none of the woman’s tantrums. She yelled to the cop, “There are more seats available,” to which the passengers yelled back, “No, there isn’t, there’s standing room only.” Everybody was frustrated at how stubborn and entitled this woman was, and the cop was growing impatient every second that she refuses to move from the seat.
“Ma’am, take off the bag, or I’ll take you off the train right now,” the cop said, irritation laced in his voice. Jessica could sense that the people in the carriage were running out of patience, as much as the cop confronting the woman was.
It was clear to her that the woman must have been behaving this way long before she got on the train in the first place. “If you take her out, we’ll have one more seat,”
another commuter screamed from the back of the crowd of passengers.
What she thought was going to be an easy removal turned out to be such a very complicated and infuriating one. The woman seemed to be taunting the hell out of the passengers, who were visibly irritated by her behavior. She tells one woman, “You’re not disabled, you’re not pregnant. I don’t like bedbugs. I’m not interested in your odor, you’re revolting.”
The rest of the passengers were stunned. Jessica could not believe what she was hearing coming out of this woman’s mouth. She wondered to herself why people like this woman existed and why she had gone on to take public transport in the first place.
The cop still kept on insisting for her to move her bag, or she will be taken off the train. The woman seemed to still not understand the severity of the situation. She did not see anything wrong with what she was doing, and this is where the frustration from the onlookers came from. “This is my personal space,” she shouted at the cop.
One passenger shouted right back, “No, it isn’t.” The only other concerning thing was the officer’s composure slowly starting to wear down. She went on, “I don’t care if I’d 90 pounds, 50 pounds, or 300 pounds. This is my personal space.”
The NJ Transit cop had hit the tipping point. He was done with the woman and her tantrums. He immediately called for backup regarding an unruly passenger. When help came, he yelled, “I want her off the train, get her off the train.”
The woman did not expect this from the cop. Her face showed that of horror and disbelief that she is now going to be taken off the train. “You want your personal space, you can have it outside,” he said, as he motioned for the other cops to come inside and take her away.
They had taken offense at the fact that she was now being forcefully removed from the train. People were already getting antsy and wanted to move on from this dilemma. The train had already been delayed for about 25 minutes because of the fiasco.
Despite being surrounded by angry passengers and irritated cops, she still showed signs of hesitation. But when she realized that the cops meant business, she then shook her head, took her bag, and begrudgingly walked out of the train, the cops following behind her.
Because the woman was busy complaining and throwing tantrums, she was not aware that the whole scene had already been captured on video by one of the passengers on that carriage. That passenger had taken and uploaded the video onto the video-sharing platform YouTube.
As soon as that was posted, a lot of people flocked to the comments section to let out their frustration against the stubborn and entitled woman. NJ Transit has also reached out to Phaedra to acquire copyrights to the video and posted it onto their YouTube page.
As days passed and more and more people were witnessing the altercation between the woman and the transit cops, they were not happy to see such a lady with bad manners and outright bratty behavior being displayed on public transport. “I’m happy someone filmed it. Her bad conduct will haunt her for a long time as a result of this film,” one YouTube user wrote.
Another person on the comments section raised an excellent point, saying, “You’re not impaired, you say. Lots of people have invisible disorders. What a disgusting woman.” While we think that this is such a very simple issue that only involves two parties, then it’s a wrong assumption because this happened on an NJ Transit train.
It is the company’s responsibility to speak up on such an important matter, especially that it involves one of their staff. In an interview, an NJ Transit spokeswoman said, “We urge customers to make any seat accessible by putting bags on their laps or on overhead luggage racks and complying with the guidance of train crews.”
Phaedra has also clarified that the passengers did not have any problem with NJ Transit but rather only with the woman. In the end, Jessica got the seat when the woman was escorted out of the train. The officer had also given the train the all-clear to resume running as it was already 30 minutes delayed.
Although it was quite a stressful experience, Jessica was still moved by how a complete stranger offered for her to take the seat that was now vacant. New York City is a concrete jungle that’s very fast-paced, and so scenarios like this are oftentimes very common, especially in trains and buses. It’s the cost of life in a big city like New York. Everywhere we look, there are examples of both positive and poor acts. That’s what makes us human, right? Seeing something wrong and getting things right.