Subway Stories: What Would You Do?

After leaving downtown Boston this week, I took the train home and witnessed a very interesting scene.

I was sitting on an end seat, to the left of a young woman with a baby carriage in front of her. I couldn't see the baby, but assume it was quietly sleeping.

After no more than a couple of minutes, it was clear to me that something was wrong with this woman. Maybe she was high and not drunk, because I didn't smell any alcohol. But she was clearly "off" in some way. She kept putting her head down, but not in a sleepy way. Something more.

She started talking on her phone and was slurring her words. Then it sounded like she was crying and she was saying that she could meet this person at South Station, but they had to really be there and not leave her waiting around.

We were almost at JFK though, so she was going to have to get off the train and take another one going in the opposite direction. As I suspected, as soon as we pulled into JFK, she got off the train.

A woman who I hadn't noticed before, stood up and started talking on her cell phone. She was describing the woman who had just left the train and the whole scene that I witnessed. She said that she didn't normally call the police about things like this, but she hoped that someone could do something. She said that the woman was heading towards South Station.

A man standing to the left of me with his friends was in a very animated conversation about the Bruins, but he stopped and looked at her, then turned to his friends and whispered, "She just turned that girl in."

It seemed like whoever she was speaking to at the police station didn't take the situation seriously and she got off the phone. A woman sitting across from me locked eyes with the woman who called the police. She said that she did the right thing. The woman who made the call said that she had called 911, but she didn't think they were going to do anything.

I've written a blog post about the show What Would You Do? and how I really enjoy it. But it never crossed my mind to call the police. Maybe I was too preoccupied. Maybe I should have called. This is a close one.

What do you think? What would you do?

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Chris said…
I would do what I normally do. Put my ipod on while keeping my face in a book while praying to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that the drunk or mentally unstable pass me by and harass a naive tourist who can't stop making eye contact.

Oh, the headphone trick usually works. The insane respect ipods for some reason and make a scene with those with naked ears.
Lisa Johnson said…
chris - I'll never forget my first ride on the train in NYC when I was around 18. I was visiting with a friend from college and hadn't spent much time in Boston, never mind NYC. She kept telling me, "Don't make eye contact!" It's a tool that I had to learn. : )
Can-Can said…
That's a hard one. I often say prayers for people - especially when children are involved - that I see on the train.
I once did one of my Random Booking book gifts to the mother a couple who were arguing heatedly in front of their toddler on the train. I waited for a pause, gave my gift and it stopped the argument. The mom ended up showing the book to the baby.

One of my forever regrets is that I didn't intervene years ago when I saw a junkie nodding at a Church's Chicken restaurant while one of the most beautiful little girls was with her. I literally wanted to take the baby away and know one would have known that I did it. I pray for that little girl every now and again.
Lisa Johnson said…
can-can - I say prayers too and hope it helps. Now that I think of it, I'll send some for this woman and baby. Part of the reason I didn't feel as alarmed was that I couldn't actually see the baby or hear it. Until the woman made the phone call, I wasn't positive there was a baby in the carriage. Oddly enough, I have seen people pushing carriages without babies in them.

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