Strange Incident on the Silver Spring Platform

So, I am in fact, no longer with Borders. And I’ve had a post in my head for a while about my new part-time job, but this is not that post, but allow me to give you something to look forward too: my first night training on one particular area, I did something which got mentioned in The Washington Post!

Anyway, right when 18th & L entered liquidation, we got several boxes filled with coupons. These coupons were intended to encourage customers to take their business to the “going forward” stores in the area, namely Silver Spring and Pentagon City. Each sheet had two coupons: one was 50% off any in-store item, the 2nd was 30% off one item online. Being the savvy shopper that I am, I snagged many of these for my own use (and took a whole bunch more in to my day job for my coworkers). They’ve been a huge hit, and yesterday afternoon, after work, I jumped on a bus from Bethesda to Silver Spring to pick up a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read.

I was looking for:

Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, Black Hills by Dan Simmons, and Secret History by Donna Tartt. Sadly, none of these were in stock, so I snagged something by Jonathan Barnes, and made my way down the hill to the Metro station.

The down escalators appeared to be working (I didn’t pay a lot of attention), but the up escalator was out of service. I trudged up, and made my way to the eastern end of the platform, so that I could board the first car of the next Shady Grove bound train, as I was headed for downtown to catch a 7:00 showing of Carancho.

There was a woman standing at the east end of the platform. As I’d come up the escalator, I could see she was talking with the operator of the train that was just now pulling out. There’s a glass booth located at that end of the platform, and a gentleman in a vest had stepped out of it to continue the conversation. As I positioned myself for my ideal car placement on the next train, I could understand the gist of the conversation:

The woman was upset about something and needed assistance. I’m not sure if she was upset about the escalators, the elevator, or what. The gentleman explained that he’d called for a station supervisor to come up to the platform to assist her, however, he was a rail supervisor, and was responsible for signaling approaching trains along the track, and could not leave the booth (or at least, completely vacate it, as he was standing outside the booth on the other side of the railing). All the while, I could see a Shady Grove bound train waiting to approach the station – when I’d gotten onto the platform, it had pulled in the opposite direction, gone out of service, and positioned itself for a return run into the city.

The woman would not listen to him. She wanted assistance, and dammit, she wanted it now. Except, of course, the platform was filling with people who wanted to go home and really wanted that train to pull onto the platform – which it of course couldn’t do because the supervisor had stepped out of the booth to assist this woman who was basically being unreasonable.

I mean – I don’t know what she wanted, or what her complaint was, but the Metro supervisor was very polite in repeatedly explaining to her that he was responsible for getting moving, and not for clearing up problems with her SmarTrip or whatever (he didn’t put it quite like that, but he did say that he couldn’t resolve her problem from the booth and he was unable to leave the booth).

Anyway, after a few minutes with her voice repeatedly rising, she apparently decided that Metro was unable to help her, and stalked off. A much friendlier rider on the platform asked, “May I help you down the escalator?” but the woman either ignored or did not hear her. No station supervisor came up to the platform – that doesn’t imply neglect, it could simply be that there were issues on the entrance level that prevented her from doing so (and the station manager I saw when I came in had been assisting a woman in a wheelchair). I simply thought it was an interesting thing to witness, an explanation for why sometimes trains don’t run on time (because the rail supervisor is trying to help some crazy person)