“Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.” - Olive Penderghast, played by Emma Stone.
When I go to downtown Los Angeles or Hollywood, I enjoy taking the Los Angeles Red Line subway. The North Hollywood station is about a mile from my house, so it’s very convenient and cheaper than paying for parking.
Friends often express concern when they hear I take the subway at night, sometimes by myself. I’ve been on trains that get stuck in the tunnel. I’ve been on a train when someone punched a passenger in the face in another car and the train waited for paramedics to arrive to take care of the bloodied victim. Despite those situations, I still feel safe riding the Red Line.
Yesterday was a reminder that dangerous situations can occur at any time, not just at night.
While taking the 7:10 a.m. train to downtown LA for the inaugural Turkey Trot race, a man riding in the same car I was in kept yelling something about “burning” something. There are often homeless people, often with mental illnesses, so I just brushed it off. He was at one end of the train, while I was in the middle. Many seats separating us.
About halfway through the ride to the Civic Center, the homeless man got up from his seat and approached a man who appeared to be in his 60s who was sitting across from him. The elderly man told the homeless man to go sit down. The homeless guy looked like he was about to strike the man, who was sitting down, minding his own business.
Once I heard the loud and anxious man’s voice, I got up from my seat and walked toward the conductor’s window. I knocked on it a few times and he yelled at me to use the intercom. I looked around and found the red intercom and told the conductor that a man was about to attack an elderly man.
As I got up from my seat to alert the conductor, two other men walked toward the commotion and tried to get the homeless man to calm down. One guy wore sunglasses, a black beanie and a leather jacket and looked like he could be a hit man you see on cop dramas like “Law and Order.”
The conductor used the PA system to tell the homeless man to sit down. The train soon stopped at the next station and the conductor opened the door to his cab and yelled at the homeless guy to leave the train. The other passengers yelled at the homeless guy to leave, too. The conductor used his radio to contact security or the Sheriffs. The doors of the train were open and it was not going anywhere as long as the homeless guy remained.
The homeless guy then took a swing at the elderly passenger. I’m not sure if he hit him or not, but the homeless guy then quickly ran out of the train. He left a black jacket behind, which was quickly kicked out onto the platform by the man wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses. The elderly man said he was ok and didn’t need medical attention. So the train continued on its way.
There were at least 20 people on that Thanksgiving morning train car. When the homeless man started yelling “burn,” one guy left the middle of the train and found a seat from him. I’m glad I was there to alert the conductor about the dangerous homeless man and I’m thankful there were two other passengers who went to the elderly man’s aide when they saw that the homeless man was in his face.
I’d hate to think what would have happened to that elderly man if no one stood up and just minded their business.
Today’s print edition of @latimes features an ad of Disney’s “Frozen.” In the past, front-page ads were wrapped on a separate page. Now it’s embedded. Future of #newspapers? #media #journalism #losangeles