From reader Michael:
I was running late for work yesterday and arrived at Union Station at about 9 a.m. to begin my trip up the Red Line to Dupont Circle--normally a 15-minute trip. In the station, a man I couldn't see started screaming, or rather whooping.
It sounded like a cross between a really bad cough and a tribal chant. I thought nothing of it, really. Perhaps some guy took to much coke, and boarded the train that arrived a minute or two later.
But you will never guess who was in my car. The man began his whoop again--very loudly--for a few seconds then started yelling.
He said something to the effect of "I am from Kenya, remember that, and tell everyone." Again and again he said this, along with a few other lines such as "Michael Jordan, Tupac, all from Kenya."
He returned to his whooping while everyone got increasingly uncomfortable.
As the train arrived in Judiciary Square, I started to compose a text message to 911, being quite sure the situation was getting worse by the minute.
However, it seemed someone had beat me to it and alerted the operator through one of the call boxes because the the train held at Judiciary while people fled.
The operator came on the PA and asked "transit [police] please contact the operator."
I stopped my text thinking we were OK.
While many people got off the train, some more got on, and the train was still quite crowded. After holding at Judiciary for another 90 seconds, the operator asked again for transit police.
A few minutes later, we proceeded to Chinatown.
On the way to Chinatown, the whooping man began pacing up and down the train asking everyone "are you my enemy?"
I was so sure he was going to blow up the train or something, but I was equally sure police were going to swarm in Chinatown.
We arrived in Chinatown, and many people fled. The doors remained open as the train waited for police, but still none showed up.
The operator started yelling into the PA every 20 seconds or so: "Transit police please contact the operator. Transit police please contact the operator."
After 5 minutes or so of waiting for police while the whooping man paced, the operator proceeded to Metro Center. Many passengers fled, and so did the whooping man.
No police ever came.
I don't advocate a police state on Metro, but my commute today took me about 40 minutes to go 5 stops. The reason: The operator was waiting for police that never came.
This man threatened passengers, scared the shit out of everyone and made several trains late.
But still, by the time I arrived at Dupont, no police had entered my train.
Avoid the Yellow and Green lines Columbus Day weekend (WMATA)
Good luck Maryland (WaPo)
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