Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Metro's Ambassadors


From Rene:

Around 2 p.m. March 12, I was descending onto the Glenmont platform at Metro Center, when I found a wallet on a broken escalator. Without opening it, I took it to the 11th St. exit kiosk and handed it to the two chatting Metro employees.

Three weeks before, my roommate lost his wallet on the train, yet recovered it through Metro's lost and found. So, this day, I was happy to replicate the good turn.

After handing over the wallet, my conversation with the Metro employees was as follows:

Metro*: "Did you take the cash?"
Me: "No, I didn't look."
Metro: "Why not?! You could have a shopping spree!"

At this point, I thought they were just having a little fun with me. That was until the Metro employee holding the wallet opened it and started prodding around.

She then said, "Hmmm, no cash in here. This ain't no good."

At this point, I took off toward the platform, leaving the employees with the cashless wallet.

When my roommate lost his wallet, everything but his $40 in cash was untouched.

The next time I find a wallet on the Metro, I will probably keep it and seek out the person on my own, rather than risking them suffering a potential "finders fee" by a Metro employee.

*The reason I wrote "Metro" instead of "Metro employee" is to stress that these types of conversations are usually the sole personal interaction between riders and Metro.

Whether it is returning a wallet, or trying to have your SmarTrip card reset, when even the lowliest kiosk operator acts out of line, it colors, rightfully or wrongly, the entire system.

Good instances, too, work this way. A personal favorite example is the rider whose MP3 player was recovered from the tracks by a dust-bin wielding kiosk worker.

Nevertheless, our commutes are bad enough with derailments, offloading, single-tracking, etc. without having to deal with ground-level employees too incompetent to realize their representative role to everyday Metro riders.

It's the difference between believing the workers are good people doing their best in spite of a dysfunctional institution, or believing they are manifestations of the broken organization.

Other items:
Will Md. chip in more to Metro? (Examiner)
Memo angers some Metro cops (Examiner)
Next Monday and Tuesday could suck (WMATA)


Anonymous said...

ATU Local 689.

The Black Dog said...

I hope this person complains directly to Metro and the workers union about this incident. Even if Rene didn't get the name of the workers, they can at least list the time and place and Metro can figure out who was working.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing more than two employees interested in helping themeselves to others property - in other words - thieves.

Bus drivers wielding knives and kiosk attendants wanting to steal cash.

Join us on the Bonny and Clyde Metro Ride!

pinksugarlove36 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I hate to put it this way, but I’m glad I haven’t found someone’s lost wallet…yet! Thanks for the heads up. If I do ever find a wallet, there’s NO WAY on God’s green earth I’d EVER turn it over to Metro employees!! However, I have turned over other lost items, but now it makes me wonder if I should have even turned those over. Don’t get me wrong, I WILL turn those items over (because I’ve lost things myself and have always tried hoping that a decent person would turn in my lost items), but now it makes me feel like employees could be checking out any items that get turned in and it leaves me wondering if anything gets taken by the employees. Sad, but that’s just how I feel.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above post. I'll find a cop to give it to. If I can find one... not a metro cop but a "real" cop. (zing!)

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting. Yet people flip out when I say that union is a criminal organization and defends and shelters criminals.

Anonymous said...

1:12 - You're an anti-union moron. It's not unions that shelter criminals, it's other criminals.

Organization meant to protect workers rights vs. corrupted people.

Learn the difference.

Anonymous said...

So, we are to believe that this person -suddenly and without warning- gave you the outlay of his evil plan? Like they do in those old campy James Bond movies, the villain confessing every detail of what he/she is about to do, only to have 007 escape and save the world? There is a moron somewhere in this story.
PLEASE, don't turn it in. PLEASE.

Anonymous said...


That's exactly the problem. The Metro union defends its workers, who are criminals and drug addicts. We all know that these union people rarely get fired and are instead, at best, shuffled to new positions to keep being a bad actor.

Anonymous said...

I might not say that is an example of incompetence so much as personal corruption. Apparently we have a system that welcomes such characterological traits, and doesn't screen them more thoroughly. Disgusting. And on top of it all: a total lack of shame.

Kaitlyn said...

I left a purse on a metro bench and boarded a train once. When I finally got back to the station, the wonderful metro employee who instantly saw and retrieved my purse was painstakingly COUNTING OUT ALL OF THE PENNIES IN MY PURSE!! Apparently any time something goes into the lost&found it is painstakingly documented down to the cent. She was so happy I came to get the purse before she had to count ALL THOSE PENNIES.

Maybe the guy you talked to really does steal the money, or maybe he was following protocol and "That's not good" meant poor guy's money is already gone. All I know is, it's their JOB to go through the whole thing and document everything so the next people that handle it are accountable for something that's taken.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what the worker did wrong. Metro workers are supposed to look through lost & found items and document everything in it. Why always assume the worst in someone?

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