Of course, what they’re really saying is, “Hey! Dumbass! When the doors are closing, don’t jam your briefcase in there! The doors won’t spring back open!” People being people, and stupidity being tragically intractable, folks routinely jam their briefcases, purses, arms and legs into the closing doors. Usually, the train operator re-opens the doors and the offender bullies his way onboard. Less often, the doors surround a backpack in a loving embrace and the train lurches out of the station, leaving behind a confused and angry passenger on the platform.
This sort of thing bugs me to no end. Jamming the doors is rude. It delays the hundreds of people already on the train, all of whom are just trying to get to their pathetic little cubicle jobs. It damages the train doors, leading to further delays (…so thousands of people can’t get home from their pathetic little cubicle jobs). And it’s ridiculously pointless. Another train will be along in a minute or two.
But I’ll live. Part of living in a city is learning how to deal with people. Even the dimmest bulbs on God’s own Christmas tree deserve a little bit of my love. But some people create the sort of situation that makes me wish I carried a baseball bat and kept Child Services on speed dial. This morning, at L’Enfant Plaza, a woman ignored the “Doors Closing” chime, and decided to jam open the doors.
With a stroller. A stroller containing a small child. People, I am not making this up.
This woman used her baby as a doorstop. Now, I am all for finding useful tasks for children. My own (imaginary) children will have their names licensed to major corporations, and work in a Nike factory by age five. But endangering your kid so you can get somewhere two minutes faster is just...I don't know. I lack the words for it.
The doors began squashing the stroller, and everyone on the train gasped. Luckily, the Metro operator saw the situation and popped the doors back open, and nearby passengers were able to drag the stroller onboard. I spent the rest of the ride wondering if I should tell that woman off or not. She was pretty far away, so I couldn’t see her reaction to the drama. Was she relieved? Ashamed? Or was she stupid enough to be glad she got on the train, her child’s safety be damned?
What would you have done?