Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome to our Friendly Little Metro

Metro sucks enough on its own without riders making it suck more. Wonder if anything could have been done to help the person who allegedly jumped on the tracks and died yesterday.

From a Blue Line passenger:
The other morning, I got off of the Blue line train at Foggy Bottom and was walking toward the platform escalator. I had my headphones on and was in my own world, just about to go up when I noticed something on the platform.

A woman was leaning over the side of the platform and seemed to be struggling with something. I took a second look and realized what she was struggling with.

A man was down on the tracks and was trying to get back up on the platform. The woman was not able to pull him up by herself and was struggling.

The man was very disoriented. Either he had issues before the fall or had hit his head when he fell.

Several people were standing around on cell phones, and I assume they were calling for help, but NO ONE was helping the woman get the man back on to the platform.

I grabbed his other arm and, with the woman’s help, was able to pull him back onto the platform.

What amazed me was the number of perfectly healthy men and women who walked right by. It was 9:30 a.m., and the platform was full of people. Most just looked at this poor man struggling to get back up on the platform and kept on walking.

I have no idea who the woman was that was helping him, but she did not know the man any more than I did. Yet she immediately got down and tried to help him knowing full well that this man was at least twice her size. She stepped up when no one else would. She is the hero here.

Kudos to the people on phones trying to get help, but what was needed was someone to help grab the man's other arm and pull.

We all complain about Metro not doing a poor job (and believe me, it is justified most of the time) but here is an example of where we the riders needs to think about how we react to a situation.

The station manager reacted immediately when he was informed but with the crowds of people in the station there was no way he could get there in time to help.

I hope that maybe some of the people that walked by read this and stop for a minute to think about their reaction or lack thereof.

Other items:
A great Toles cartoon (WaPo)
Metro victims entitled to $50K (WMATA)
Apparently, Metro has given up even trying to fire bad seeds (Examiner)


Chris said...

I know I complain about it all the time, but honestly - the heat causes crazy things. Crazy things like going insane or simply passing out. I'm telling you: fix the heat in these stations, fix most of the problems.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the 'bystander effect' is well-documented. The more people who witness an emergency incident the less likely any one invdividual is to help. That's why instead of yelling "Help" or "Call 911" people need to make eye contact with someone and say "You help me" or "You call 911."

It sucks. I'm glad you stepped up to do the right thing. You likely saved a life.

Anonymous said...

Really Chris? NYC doesn’t have airconditioned stations and you don’t see people constantly falling onto the tracks. If your going to complain about something metro is screwing up, make it a legitimate one.

Chris said...

Yes, really. Just because NYC has or doesn't have something doesn't mean WMATA is exempt. Really, Anonymous.

Kara said...

I found it hard to believe metro seemed to be bragging that the families *might* get 50K each.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:45 is correct. It happened to me. Someone near me went down in a medical crisis. I could not get one person out of probably 40+ to even move their feet to help me with this person. Some stranger came by and jumped in to help. The entire time those cows stood there acting like dumb cows.

Human nature appears to not be very kind. (Possibly proven by Anon 8:14's comment no less?)

Anonymous said...

@7:45 is right, always make eye contact and ask a specific person for help, other wise everyone assumes someone else will help.

Anonymous said...

Wow, unbelievable!

Somehow, now when people are more engrossed in themselves and/or care only about themselves, it’s not surprising. As a matter, of fact, as a possible indication: If some riders don’t care about giving up their seats to others when it could be necessary, is an obvious indication that things are getting worse about helping out a fellow human being. Clearly, the Kitty Genovese syndrome has gotten worse! Just like that man in New York who stepped in to help the woman who was being assaulted ended up being killed because no one else stepped in to help.

For the people who did nothing to help out, may you never be in the same situation where you need help. You, too, would be in for a rude shock when people pass you by instead of helping!

Kudos to the people who put their lives on the line and helped the man off the tracks! I hope I’ll be able to step up to help when it’s needed!

Anonymous said...

Aside from the obvious issue here of people not helping, maybe people need to stand away from the edge of the platform. Seriously. Sometimes I see people standing right up on the edge and I think "all it'll take is a second of dizziness or someone to accidentally brush into you for you to be dead". Use your brains. You'll get on the train. There's really no need to be first in line right up against the track.

Anonymous said...

Correction to my above post:

For the people who looked at the man trying to get back on the platform and did nothing....those are the people I'm referring to about not stepping up to help out.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who saw that and did nothing deserves a special seat in hell.

Unsuck DC Metro said...

They did. On Metro ;)

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, I hope it inspires people to get involved. I used to be an EMT and still carry a trauma kit in my car. I finally got sick of people telling me how they would never get involved and started just saying, "that is because you are a coward." A surprising number of people are proud to be cowards.

I am not at all a religious person, but there is a universal truth to the statement in the Bible that what you do for the least of people, you do for God. No one is lower than a helpless and injured person and I have all the respect in the world for anybody who puts their own needs aside and sticks their neck out to help their fellow man. Small actions at the right moment have huge impacts on peoples lives.

Blue Line Passenger: You were an eagle among chickens.

Anonymous said...

A seat on Metro? In your dreams! In Metro hell, they had to stand.

Anonymous said...

In defense of those who may do nothing in a situation like this, you never know what a truly crazy guy is going to do. Hell, if he's really crazy, he may grab you and touch the third rail while you are trying to help him, which would likely kill you too.

From the description above, it sounds like the guy was not crazy and not near the third rail and was trying to get out, which would mean you should probably help him out.

Anonymous said...

There is no defense for doing nothing in a situation like this. Fine, if you're too scared that the guy who is conceivably about to be killed might hurt you, at least go to the 'emergency' pillar and get on the intercom to the station manager to tell him to stop any incoming trains and cut the third rail. Go find someone in a neon vest. Do SOMETHING other than just standing there pretending not to notice. Otherwise you're just rationalizing your inaction.

saber_saw25 said...

I had something like that happen to me one night in Rosslyn. Two guys and a girl, drunk out of their minds, got off an Orange Line train. After having about a three minute yelling match with some other people on the train and the train operator having to yell repeatedly for them to move away from the train, the Orange Line train left the station. I was kind of watching what was going on and then noticed all three looking down on the track. Then one of the guys just jumped onto the tracks. I ran over to the emergency call box and hit the button with no response. I went up to get the station manager but he was already running full steam down the escalator and when he got there the guy was already back on the platform. I heard the guy say to the station manager, “her fare card fell onto the tracks, what was I supposed to do?” The station manage kicked their butts out pretty quickly. Similar situation though, there were about twenty people on the platform and I was the only one who flinched and tried to do something.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the thing to do was to ask the woman who was helping the man up from the tracks what she saw happen and if you (in general terms) could help them out. And no, I don’t mean ask the question and wait around for a reply. This might also help in determining what other steps need to be taken such as calling the police, an ambulance, etc.

@10:16 -- Of course it would be exasperating to help them out if he was standing rightattheedgeoftheplatform in order to make sure he was aboard the train, but you could still help.

As far as what saber_saw25 said and did, at least he recognized that those people were drunk, but still tried to help, nevertheless. I’m glad that the station manager chased them out. Who knows what other kind of stupid things those drunks could get into? What idiots!

Matt said...

Hmmm...if only this Blue line rider were on the red line when a dead body did a full circuit through the system. Maybe, just a tap on the shoulder? I've done it several times to people sleeping as trains are going out of service. Trust me, they'd rather have you wake them up then miss their stop.

Everyone is at the mercy of the bystander affect. I just hope that if something happens to me, someone like this blue line rider is around.

Anonymous said...

Interesting page here today. Anon 2:35, I have to ask one question. Could not the time it takes to ask result in a death that might otherwise be prevented? I fear the lawsuit reality of our lives plays into this. Being a good samaritan can get you a lawsuit if things go wrong, laws protecting the good nothwithstanding. Nevertheless - to stand by and watch someone's life at risk. What kind of person is that? I say they are not a person. They are sub-human; a mutation back to pre-human condition.

And HILARIOUS Unsuck and Anon about the hell is a Metro train ride! All too true with the a/c failures so prevalent!

Anonymous said...

@3:24-- Problem with 2D, it's hard for me (2:35) to clearly express my thoughts and put what I'm thinking into writing.

What I'm try to say, is, for example, if I am the person walking up on the scene.

Me to Blue Line Savior AT THE SAME TIME as I'm reaching out a hand to help: "Hey, do you know what happened or did you see what happened? Should I get someone to call the police? Should I call an ambulance?"

I guess I really don't have to know, but any information could help. Did he faint? Did someone push him and the person get away (but a police report has to be filed)? Did he trip? Clearly, as the man was dazed for whatever the reason, EMT should be called. It is his right to refuse treatment, but at least necessary steps were taken.

Assess the scene as you come forward and perhaps you can figure out what to do as you're helping them out. If the person doesn’t want to talk about it, be it a medical condition or even a personal, private fight, perhaps asking them if you can help them contact someone might even be a step in the right direction. Maybe they’re too shaken up or disoriented to call the office to let them know that the were in a slight accident and will be in late, or won’t be in at all. If they refuse your help, at least you know that you tried to do something.

Autumn said...

A similar situation happened when I lived in London. I was waiting for my train at London Bridge and as the doors opened and people started pouring out, a woman fainted as she exited the train.

Instead of helping her, people simply stepped over her to get off the train. In fact, one main who I thought was going to help her, actually just moved her to the side of the doors and kept going.

I ran through the crowd to help her, and another woman came over and together we helped her to the side of the station. We sat her down and when she was a bit more aware, she explained that she was 12 weeks pregnant. I had a bottle of water which I gave to her and we summoned a London Underground employee who called in an ambulance. Myself and the other woman waited with her until paramedics arrived.

I didn't do anything heroic, just would hope someone would help me in a similar situation.

People need to consider how they would feel if a loved one was left to suffer without help!

Anonymous said...

If you hit the tracks, don't assume that the EMTs are going to jump in there and rescue you regardless of your critical one hour.
They know how dangerous and evironment they are entering and will take their time making sure Metro has its head straight before they do.

Anonymous said...

The bleeding hearts on here will disagree, but it's not right to pass judgment on those who didn't reach their arms down the side of the platform to help this guy up. It's crazy to do that without knowing the circumstances (as others with common sense have posted) since you can't possibly know the person on the track's intentions. The general Metro-riding public is not responsible for saving lives on their way home from work. Emergency personnel are paid to be the heroes in such situations so it's perfectly acceptable to summon the appropriate authorities to help then get out of their way. Calling someone a "bad person" because they weren't ok with the idea of possibly getting pulled down onto an electric rail is unacceptable. Maybe some of those "people talking on their phones" were actually doing the right thing and calling Metro police or other emergency personnel to deal with the situation professionally? Ever think about that possibility?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Good for you for helping ! And just as good, thank you for telling us about it. And pointing out how lame throngs of us can be.

Good good good. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I’m an effin’ Bleeding Heart and as I had said in my previous post to ask what happened. You don’t have to physically help out if you don’t want to. However, I’d hope that if you decide to ask what’s going on with the Blue Line Samaritan and the man she was rescuing, you might pitch in and help out by calling the police or an ambulance or even the fire department. Hoping for the best does not always mean that it will end up for the best (with the best results). Again, the Kitty Genovese syndrome is kicking in and getting worse. You hope that someone else is making that call to “professional rescuers” so you won’t have to get involved. For your sake, I hope that the “professional rescuers” telephone lines are flooded with calls and you will have a clear conscious that you didn’t have to get on the phone and take time to make one little itty-bitty phone call!

Anonymous said...

9:43. "I have servants to do dirty work, like helping bleedy people." Unsuck yourself.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Anonymous said...

When I first moved to DC I was walking down the short side of the Dupont Circle escalator (short side) when I hit a rain slick step. I fell down the remainder of the escalator which knocked the wind out of me. It was in the middle of rush hour and the woman behind me stuck her foot on me and shoved me out of the way! Not a single person stopped to help me. I wasn't able to get up and it wasn't until the station manager saw and rushed over that anyone stopped to help. That was my "warm welcome" to DC!

Anonymous said...

The other day, I was at Metro center around 6:30 PM, when I saw a young lady sitting on the floor with her head leaning up against a post. When I got close I could see she was sick. The station was crowded as usual. Other passengers, mainly tourist just walked by or stepped over her. I bent down to ask if she was ok and she was faint. I didnt want to move her or give her anything like water because that may have caused her become worse. I told her to hold on while I ran to get the station manager. The station manager ran back to the young lady with me and called for help. People in general suck and are selfish as hell. It took less than 5 mins. ti help. The young lady was pregnant and it could have been serious.

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