Trouble on the line


It was as I stepped into the carriage of a late night Dart that I first noticed the man, situated as he was in the open space at the doors.

I sat down in a nearby seat and the man kept popping into my line of vision, as my eyes lazily perused my surroundings. Having spent 26 minutes sitting on a metal chair in a cold train station, I was drawn to a cup from which he was sipping what appeared to be tea or coffee but, as events unfurled, might very well have been something else.

Any time our eyes met, I thought I glimpsed a flash of anger but told myself I was imagining it.

After a while the man started to shout a little bit. As he didnt seem to be in pain I paid no attention to him, instead giving him some space and thinking that perhaps alcohol consumption may be the cause of his outburst.

A very kind and less cynical gentleman decided otherwise and approached the man asking if he needed any help. He narrowly missed being punched in the head, twice, for his kind actions.

He quickly retreated to his nearby seat only to be followed by the man, who was now rudely gesticulating to all and sundry and shouting loudly as he went.

It was quite frightening. The kind man's female traveling companion certainly thought so, as she scurried to the next seat where there was another male passenger.

The angry man's shouting continued for quite some time. From my seat I furtively looked at the doors for the red cord that would gain the drivers attention, if we needed to. However that may also leave us stranded mid-station with Angry Man, while the train shuddered to a stop. It was therefore not a viable option, notwithstanding the fact that, as I just found out, the red alert cord on Dart trains no longer exists.

We were stuck with Angry Man it seemed.

He continued his verbal assault on the couple and anyone in their vicinity, virtually trapping them where they sat. As he awkwardly moved forward to where the woman had moved to, she made good her escape by climbing over the seat to get back to her partner. They both then ran down to the other end of the train.

This was not good.

Angry Man eventually followed them, still gesticulating, shouting and daring anyone he passed to lock eyes with him. We averted our eyes to the window, the blackness of Dublin as it whizzed past us being distinctly more preferable to the blackness of Angry Man's eyes.

This was definitely not good.

At the next station the couple jumped off the train and ran quickly ran down to the next carriage before the train moved off again. A move I was afraid to take in case I didn't make it on time. I got increasingly nervous as more people disembarked at each stop. Thankfully others boarded,  including two young men who ironically took the seats of the earlier escapees.

Angry Man had calmed some and had made his way back to his starting position but began shouting aggressively again.

We then found ourselves in a déjà vu moment as one of the young men kindly got up and approached Angry Man. I tried to connect eyes with him, whilst simultaneously shaking my head and silently screaming Nooooo .... Don't do it , in my mind. The connection was unfortunately missed and Young Man's similar attempt to Kind Man's before him, was met with an almost similar response.Young Man very quickly retreated and surprisingly wasn't followed by Angry Man!

We expelled silent sighs of relief.. well, I imagine I wasn't the only one to do so.

Angry Man took himself grumpily down the other end of the carriage and was again silent for a time while we sat on tenterhooks. He remained silent until the only man left from the first debacle was disembarking and decided not to take his leave via the doors closest to him. Oh no, he instead strode confidently through to Angry Man's spot and sat near him. This I know 'cos I stole a sneaky glance, retracting my head double quick at Angry Man's ferocious glance back at me. Oh, crap.....

By the renewed shouting that ensued, we gathered that departing man had some departing words with Angry Man before he subsequently disembarked..

Now, I didn't blame him for saying something as Angry Man's behaviour, in whatever condition he was in, drunk or not, had become totally unacceptable . But did he have to chose when he has getting off the train to do so? His actions left us, the remaining passengers, to deal with any resulting aftermath!

My mind subsequently sped down the tracks of endless possibilities. Would his attacks get more dangerous? Would someone challenge him? Would a knife get pulled? And why the hell doesn't some departing passenger tell someone?

But there was no-one tell, the stations being closed and the driver's compartment being too far away from our carriage.

As I myself was disembarking I noticed that the replacement for the red cord alert system is an intercom
linked to the train driver. We could have used that but heaven knows how Angry Man would have reacted to that.

I got off at my stop and hoped everyone would be ok for the remainder of the short journey. I also wondered what, if anything, we should have done differently.

What would you do if you were in this situation?

And would you change your mind if I told you that Angry Man was quite disabled and in a motorised wheelchair?


xx



Note: I sincerely apologise if anyone is offended by this piece. I have witnessed a number of obnoxious, aggressive, drunk and rude behaviours on the Dart over the years and usually only report  if the situation appears to be escalating beyond reason. This is the first I've witnessed at night and it shocked me. I have since learned that the individual concerned is known for his aggressive behaviour. I can assume, therefore, that he has come to the attention of Irish Rail as they must assist him on and off at stations.







14 comments:

  1. What a scary situation. Glad there were other passengers so you weren't on you're own...

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  2. @BavarianSojourn: So was I, believe me! It was quite scary alright.

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

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  3. Scary! You do get people like that occasionally on public transport. My take on it is that he should be banned from using the trains for a while and, when he comes back, if he remains aggressive, should be banned permnanently. And the fact that he is disabled is irrelevent - equality means that he is treated the same as an able-bodied person.

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  4. @Anonymous: I'm inclined to agree with you. Of course allowances must be made for some behaviours, like shouting for example, if related to his disability. Aggressive behaviours should not be tolerated,similar to able-bodied people. If the gardai are called then he would have to be treated a little differently yet reprimanded. Perhaps he should only be allowed to travel if accompanied by another adult?

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

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  5. That sounds an awful ordeal. I probably would have got off the train and rang a taxi if I thought he was going to be a danger.

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  6. That sounds very unpleasant :( I wonder are there be passenger protocols? Notices to say what kind of behaviour is unacceptable? Yes there allowances may need to be made for someone who might be deaf for example, but there is a difference between shouting and aggressive behaviour that makes other passengers afraid.

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  7. Was this the night we were out? You did text me once you got home that there had been an angry man on the Dart... I have no idea what I would have done. Probably just like you!

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  8. Oh dear, that does sound like a very tense situation. It's a tough one.... I am glad that you are okay.

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  9. @The mum of all trades: I never thought of that! Then again, some Dart stations are in leafy dark areas. I really should have just gone to the next carriage, I surely would have made it. And could have told the driver from there?

    @Looking for Blue Sky: Well I think aggressive behaviour that makes other passengers afraid and possibly putting them at risk definitely on any protocol list. There must be a protocol, I know this isn't acceptable, from any passenger. The real problem is how it's enforced in the moment? There was no-one to do that. We haven't seen late night Dart security people on board in a while. A knife was pulled in another incident I heard, and when some passengers told security at the station when they got off, they were told nothing could be done as they were in charge of the station only!! Security had to be asked to call the guards or get someone to radio the driver! Ridiculous.

    @NanP: Yes Nan, that was that night alright! I should have found a way to tell the driver. From the next carriage, or time it so that the man was down the other end of our carriage and as we were coming into a station, so that I could leg it! In fairness though I didn't know that the intercom system was in place until I was getting off.

    @Bright Side of Life: Thanks!It was indeed intense and unpleasant but I was also struck by the situation whereby allowances might be made for an aggressive disabled person. I don't think they were on the night in question. Two guys misinterpreted his shouting and thought he might need assistance but one guy did stand up to him...as he was leaving and another guy faced him off to...also as he was departing! Gosh, everyone is brave when they're disembarking!

    Thanks for your comments :-)

    xx Jazzy

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  10. That's really nightmarish. I would have been terrified. It might be worth reporting the incident to your station anyway. It gave me areal shock when you said he was disabled, but disability is no excuse for threatening behaviour. Hope you're feeling better now XXX

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  11. @Jean: I tell ya, I won't be waiting a nano second the next time I encounter him! It really makes you think though doesn't it, the fact he was in a wheelchair? I had this half written in drafts when the story about the Autistic man held in Garda custody in Donegal broke. It was dreadful how he was treated but I would not have liked to have been the girls he allegedly chased. If indeed he did do. Yes, disability is no excuse for bad behaviours but the authorities must make some allowances when dealing with and reprimanding them.

    Thanks for your comment:-)

    xx Jazzy

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  12. Sounds quite scary. And while I complain about practically living in my car because it seems like we're always in it, at least I'm not in it with yelling, angry passengers. Well, at least not all the time - I do drive with three girls so there is drama sometimes! :)

    Disability can bring out the best or the worst in people. The choice is often up to us...

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  13. That is scary. I don't know what I would have done to be honest.

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  14. @AlongCameTheBird: That is true! I very rarely use public transport, usually only when I'm going into Dublin city or nearby local areas on days I don't have the car. The car is safer it would seem!
    Yes the choice is up to us but in this case it wasn't just about being disrespectful to a person with a disability, it was quite the opposite. The person with the disability was behaving inappropriately and making other passengers insecure and extremely uncomfortable, possibly putting them in danger. The question therefore is, should he be allowed to do so because he has a disabilty? Personally I don't believe he should.

    @magnumlady: Scary and a bit awkward! I think most of us didn't know what to do to be honest.

    Thanks for your comments :-)

    xx Jazzy

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