Finances & Money

Two rude people on the train…

… and I was one of them.

Yesterday on the metro, I heard a phone go off, but no one answered it. I tried to figure out whose it was, but couldn’t. Then it went off again, but with a different tone.

A few minutes later, I found the culprit. A middle-aged woman was seated nearby, and she decided to try out every single one of her ringtones at full volume. As you know, I don’t have much patience for things like that, so after about 30 seconds of listening, I called over to the woman. I said, probably in a booming voice for so early in the morning, “Excuse me, ma’am, could you please stop that”. No response, so I immediately followed up with “Lady, please stop that noise!”

The woman looks up at me and goes on a tirade. She calls me “mental” (which I don’t disagree with), suggests I should just move to another car, and a few other not-so-nice words. I then followed up with “Lady, put away the phone and shut up!”.  For a brief moment, it appears she has stopped her noise.

About 10 seconds pass, and she starts up the ringtones again. I tried to hold it in, until a fellow passenger chuckles and says “I guess she won that one”. I look around quickly and notice everyone showing disapproving faces and gestures towards the woman. I decide to try one more time. I said “Lady, please, stop it!”. She pipes up with the “move to another train” and “get off at the next stop” business, but I immediately counter with “You’re not only bothering me, you’re annoying every other passenger here. And now I’m annoying everyone with my yelling at you!”.

She started to yell back again, but instantly the entire front half of the train yelled back “lady, YOU need to get off”, “you’re p***ing off everyone!”, and “you’re wrong lady!”. I didn’t expect such a unanimous response from my fellow passengers, but it was appreciated. I didn’t want to look smug, so I just buried my nose back in my paper and let the rest of the train take care of finishing her off.

At the next stop, an older woman, probably in her late 60’s/early 70’s, walks up to me and says “I’m a former school marm. That’s what we call bad manners (motioning to the woman). You were right in what you said. Back in my day, they let us smack kids like that. Now I’m a tour guide and have to deal with people like her every day.”

I replied that adults are worse than kids, and apologized for my own yelling. 7am was just too darn early for me to deal with an inconsiderate passenger, but I’m still scolding myself for being so loud (I thought I had to speak louder because of the tunnel noise, but it turns out my voice really carries across a subway car anyway).

So, if you were on that train yesterday morning, I apologize for yelling. I also have all of you who commented on my elevator post for helping me recognize when I’m rude. It didn’t stop me this time, but at least I saw what I did and apologized for it (although not to the phone bandit).

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Clever Dude


  • People suck sometimes but I always try to remember that I should treat others how I want to be treated. I think she would’ve stopped the first time if you would of said things more politely like you were trying to read and was hoping that she could minimize the noise level so you could concentrate.

  • I dunno. I am making a generalization, but some people in DC area are just like the lady described in the post. Some people just don’t care about others.

  • My pet peeve is people talking loudly on their cell phones while in stores, especially checkout lines and restaurant order lines. I think its rude to the person working to not get off your phone for 1 minute to be served.

  • It seems like people these days feel the world owes them a living and they can do whatever they want because “it’s my country too”, “if you don’t like it, leave or don’t listen to me”, and all those other choice freedom of speech and action phrases.

    While I’m all for freedom, I am not for people using that as an excuse to be rude.

    I think the values are being passed down to their children as well, with their children subsequently not learning how to be polite and well-mannered in public places.

    Good for you!

  • What made you feel that it was appropriate for you to publicly (and loudly) correct another adult’s misbehavior?

    (I don’t mean the question to be attacking: I’m genuinely curious.)

  • You could have tried being a little nicer with your approach at first (based on your own quotes), but I understand where you are coming from. People in the city also tend to react differently than other places, and sometimes that approach is best. It looks like your fellow passengers appreciated what you did though, so no harm.

  • Thanks for the support everyone!

    MoneyDummy, combating rudeness with rudeness still isn’t appropriate. As Tyler (first comment here) mentioned, I could have walked over and asked politely, but instead I yelled across the train. However, the lady was only about 12 feet away, and I didn’t yell over top anyone else.

    It wasn’t so much a yell as a very loud request. As I mentioned, I underestimated my volume, but I think I still asked politely. The first time, she ignored me, so I followed up with something a little more forceful.

    But yes, I could have just walked over and asked her, but I was lazy as usual.

  • haha, what a great story. I probably wouldn’t have said anything just because I’m shy but I always love it when people like you actually step up and say something. People like that need to learn what respect is.

  • RIGHT ON dude. Some people use cellphones with no regard for anyone else. I don’t want to hear your conversation about NOTHING. I applaud you and would have been one of your supporters too. Can you come down to Atlanta and do that?

  • SGM, I have a feeling that my big mouth is going to get me into trouble soon. Mostly because I seem to be getting a little more courageous with each problem I encounter.

  • Good for you for speaking up. I see people behaving very rudely daily on public transportation and am always to scared to speak up.

    Some people just don’t know they are being rude or obnoxious – they, unfortunately were not taught good manners. Sometimes, letting them know that this is not an appropriate behavior is enough… Sometimes they know full well and show blatant disrespect.

    One of my pet peeve are those push-to-talk phone where I can hear both sides of the conversation at the same time. Don’t I feel lucky?!?

  • Tanelia, I hear those stupid phones too many times myself, and have complained to my coworkers who have the Nextel phones. They’ve never used the walkie-talkies in the office, but when I brought it up as a pet peeve, they really didn’t think there was a problem using them. However, they now realize that it disturbs other people, and others don’t want to be a part of the conversation, so they only use the feature away from the public.

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