Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another spill, another stain

A man comes in and sits next to me with a hot cup of coffee in hand. I was annoyed-- another rule breaker. At first, I didn't say anything, but he was slurping loudly, every 5-10 seconds. I looked at him purposely each time he slurped, and when he realized, he turned to me and said, "Is this bothering you?" I said, "You know you're not supposed to eat or drink in here? Otherwise, I'd be bringing in a cup of coffee too. I definitely need it." He says half jokingly, "No one's ever stopped me before. At least I"m not eating, right?" I replied, "I heard they ticket. Watch out."

At the next stop, he got up to give his seat to a pregnant woman (good for him for doing that! very few people, men and women, care enough to do that.) As he got up, a girl squeezed passed him and knocked his coffee with her huge backpack. He spilled the coffee. Most of it went on his hand and shirt but a good amount went on to the floor and his vacated seat.

He looked at me and said, "First time I've spilled, really!" A few people near the area threw in some napkins and tissues to soak up the stains. In the end, the stain was small....but yet, it was another brown mark on the BART train floor and seat.

I've gotten criticized by some of you before for not taking my action to the next stage....meaning reporting him to the T.O. I pointed him to the rules, but that's as far as I went! If someone is eating a stinky breakfast burrito, drinking alcohol, or something illegal, I would have definitely called the T.O. or in more severe cases, the BART Police. But I do believe enforcement needs to start with BART...especially for something like coffee. It only takes one ticket from BART officials to stop someone from breaking the rules again. If they can't circle around trains to enforce, they can't expect riders to get out of the seat, squeeze through the crowds, go to phone, and make such a call in front of everyone. Don't blame fellow passengers for not reporting....this is not a suspicious bag! This is one of many commuters who bring in coffee despite knowing the rules. BART needs to show that they will indeed enforce their own rules! It's great and noble if a passenger is responsible enough to report every single violation he or she sees....I'd have a lot of respect for that person, but if the rest of us don't, it's not our fault.


Anonymous said...

i appreciate your candor in admitting indirectly that you do not "care enough" to give up your seat to a pregnant woman.

additionally, re your post the other day about discarded BART cards... you're the only generous person who rides BART, everyone else is either lazy or littering.

keep up the good work.

bartmusings said...

did i give off that impression? actually one of the few noble things i do on BART is making a point to give up my seat to someone who looks uncomfortably pregnant. i've known many pregnant women who have complained about feeling unsafe (tripping, falling) on BART.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't report either.

Anonymous said...

I would feel a little nervous being the one who got up and visibly talked to the intercom, when the policeman walks in and busts the violator. Next time you see that person, the spilled coffee might be all over you.

On the other hand, I don't much care for having enough BART cops around to enforce the no-eating rules on every car. They cost money and take up space.

BART needs a webpage accessible to mobile devices for this purpose. Make it easy and safe to report violators. (Is there enough wireless connectivity on BART to make this feasible?)

Anonymous said...

Pretty much from the horses mouth: "BART Police will not ticket people for drinking coffee - especially in the morning. We don't want to deal with the attitude that comes along with 'I need my morning coffee before I can deal with today' that some people have". It was hearsay for me, as it was told to me by someone who heard it directly from a BART Police Officer.

I agree with Anon #3 - it would be great to have a website accessible for mobile devices. Shoot, I'd be happy to have system-wide internet access. Speaking of...apparently BART is working on this, check out Apparently it's free for the time being, while it's being rolled. I signed-up the other day...unfortunately, I only get about 5min worth while in downtown SF, cause once you reach the tunnel it's gone. More info here:

Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated with this...just came across it recently when trying to get internet access on my iPod Touch while waiting for the train.

Anonymous said...

i agree with anon1

"good for him for doing that!"

what about you? why didnt you give him your seat in exchange for being such a generous person?

Josh said...

Speaking of abandoned bags... A few weeks back, somebody reported an abandoned bag on the very car on which I was sitting. They held us at West Oakland, brought dogs onto the train, multiple police officers... finally they announced "Does this bag belong to anybody?!" and it turned out it belonged to the lady sitting right next to it. It was the silliest thing I ever saw. A lot of the other passengers on the train (myself included) got a good laugh.

It is important to be vigilant and report suspicious activities or items, but sometimes I think people are a little too paranoid.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if restaurants that enable this behavior (e.g., the Starbucks next to the station) would at least encourage responsible alternatives like sealed commute mugs. Spilling a few drops is not nearly as bad as spilling a whole cup of something. Some commute mugs are even spring-loaded, so they stay closed except when you are actively taking a drink.

Anonymous said...

I think your clever warning to him was good, and he got the punishment he deserved with the spill.