People. Urgh.

After attending the Annual Bloggers Bash on Saturday, The Bloke and I decided to stay overnight and travel back to Birmingham the following day. We’d got up, had breakfast, went to Chiswick House really early in the morning with Shelley as neither of them had seen it and then made our way back up to Euston to catch the train home. The Bloke surprised me with First Class tickets, and after the post-Royal-Wedding madness I was enormously grateful not to have to battle with my massive bag and the epic amounts of people all trying to get a seat. It was a real treat – something that we’ve only ever done once before on a different train service. We got ourselves settled and comfortable and I started writing up my Bash post on my phone with the intention of loading it up later. It had been a really nice morning, but I was shattered and looking forward to getting home.

About two minutes before the train set off, two women walked into the carriage, sorted out their bags and sat down. One of them then turned their music on at full blast. I thought it might have been an error at first – sometimes when you click on a link or an ad music comes on unexpectedly – but no, we were treated to her playlist in full. Over the top she was shouting her thoughts to her friend.

Great.

After a little while I poked my head through the gap in the seats, put on a smile and said,

“Excuse me love, would you mind turning your music down or putting your headphones in?”

That was it. Word for word. With a smile.

And Oh. My. God. You’d have thought that I’d just walked over and spat on her. She went nuts, standing up, swearing at me, screaming and shouting. At one point I think she threw a bag of pretzels at me, which hit the poor couple sitting behind. I took it for a while, then lost my temper and gave as good as I got, which didn’t help. I was informed that I’m a ‘pink faced b*tch,’ (I’m surprised she didn’t say purple by this point based on my anger level) I’m a racist because I’m a white girl who has a problem with a black girl playing music (she could have been bright green with orange spots for all I cared and race was never mentioned – I just wanted her to turn her music down), that she has triggers and people need to know when to shut their mouth, that she couldn’t wait for me to get off the train as she was going to knock me out… The Bloke told her to shut up and she started on him, calling him all sorts of disgusting names.

I contacted the train guard who asked her to move out of the carriage and she refused. He walked off. I was privately tweeting Virgin Trains who informed me that the British Transport Police would be removing her at the next station. Unfortunately, the next station (Coventry) was over an hour away and so we had to endure the rest of the time listening to her go on and on and on about how she was going to kick my arse and swearing at me. She even rang friends and made up stories about the events that had happened – I’d called her racist names, we had got off the train at Coventry and threatened her, The Bloke had stood over her and threatened her… Crazy.

She obviously has issues and it clearly wasn’t the first time – she was loudly shouting about how this was the second time this week and recounting a story about how she had got into a fight with a stewardess on the plane in Thailand. Classy.

Eventually the train arrived at Coventry and the British Transport Police got on. They got the woman on side immediately (I needed those skills when I was a teacher) and successfully removed her off the train without any major incident (although she took the opportunity to swear at me a few times more). They took statements from both of us, and when the officer asked the carriage if anyone could corroborate the whole carriage backed me up. However, when they were asked to give their phone numbers as witnesses there was just a single person who did so, and he wrote his number on a train ticket and gave it to us too. Bless him, what an awesome guy.

The rest of the twenty minutes that was left were quiet. The people in the carriage had a discussion with me about how awful and dangerous she was, which is why they didn’t say anything. I didn’t blame them at all – she looked like her head was about to explode.

It did make me think though: if the situation was different and she had been having a go at someone else, would I have said something? Would I have given my number out as a witness?

Honestly? Probably not, especially with a woman that aggressive.

The problem was, if she had attempted to fight me or pulled some sort of weapon (rather than just a bag of pretzels), there was nobody to stop her except for The Bloke, and that would have upset me far more if he’d been hurt. Nobody checked her ticket to see whether she should have been there – I doubt she even paid for a ticket as when the Police asked for her address she said she was of no fixed abode (despite the iPhone and the trip to Thailand). Nobody came back to check on the situation later on. It was me, The Bloke, a psycho and her friend and a bunch of equally intimidated passengers in a closed carriage in the middle of nowhere. Scary.

Later on, one of the BTP rang me to ask me if I wanted to press charges. I was informed that she had made some accusations against me, I would have to go in for interviews, our witness would then have to be interviewed and I would potentially have to go to court to prosecute her. I said no, mainly because I knew that she would get a slap on the wrist, it wouldn’t change her behaviour and it would be a massive waste of everyone’s time. I was shaken and upset, and while I was pleased that it was over I was a little cross about having to take the high road for an easier life.

I’m finding that the high road is needed a lot more as I age, and it’s frustrating. I’m far less tolerant of people in general, but when dealing with the irrational and/or scary the only way to maintain any form of sanity is to state your point and walk away. Unfortunately, that means that people like that get away with awful behaviour because nobody ever really puts them in check, but I’m taking comfort in the fact that one day this woman will mess with the wrong person and get hurt. I’m sure the more compassionate among us would probably suggest that I should be hoping that she gets help instead, but I’m not feeling particularly compassionate at present.

Of course, for every idiot out there, there are thousands more who are amazing. However, for the minute, I think I’m going to try and stay away from people for a little while. People suck.

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83 thoughts on “People. Urgh.

  1. What an awful situation to be in. Trapped and your first class gift sullied by the foul behaviour of a mannerless being. Hold on to the good parts of the bash and put her out of your thoughts she deserves to be sent to Coventry!

  2. i’m so sorry, how awful on so many levels. hopefully she learned something, but i really doubt it, sounds like she is on high alert. you are right when you reflect on it – sometimes the high road is the hardest one to climb. glad you are okay.

  3. I asked a woman to stop speeding at 55mph past a primary school and got called a piece of white trash and then punched me. Charming. Sorry to hear about your experience.

  4. Oh my goodness. How absolutely awful for you and The Bloke. You’re right, the woman must have had issues but it doesn’t stop it being a horrible experience. I hope you can manage to put it behind you. People do suck, but keep in mind not all of them do. I hope you can travel first class again and have an enjoyable time.

    • Yeah, it’s difficult to remember that there are good people too… I get a bit more agitated than i should in public since then and have to keep reminding myself to be smiley and nice…

  5. Crazy people on trains! It’s a universal problem. In the US, almost always, no one says a word or helps. Except for me. If I person needs help, I seem to always get involved. Personal safety aside. If it was the norm that a trainload of people would not accept such behavior, it is likely it would not happen as often as it does.

    We live in a self serving society, out of fear and because of that, we allow the things that scare us to happen more than they should.

    Just glad her only weapon of choice were words and pretzels.

  6. Wow! That shows how unstable some people are and how the simplest request can turn into an unsolicited confrontation. What a horrible experience for you and the bloke at the end of a positive weekend. You raise a lot of interesting questions about how you would have reacted as a bystander. I’m glad she didn’t have any weapons as there is no telling what she would have been capable of doing. Yikes!

  7. Suzie, I’m so sorry you had to endure that! It’s horribly distressing and you did the right thing. I think you’re correct in that this woman is mentally disturbed. She needs help – hopefully she’ll get it. I tend to agree with you that pressing charges would be pointless – if she had physically attacked you, I would recommend you do it, but thank heavens it was only words. I guess First Class isn’t always First Class – and I’ll bet she didn’t have a ticket.

  8. Oh Suzie, I am so sorry you and The Bloke had to ensure this absolutely revolting behavior from a nutcase. On the trains here in Chicago there is a lot complacency but honestly it can become dangerous very quickly so I now realize why people keep to themselves. Nonetheless, I wish you didn’t have to go through that. I have observed that when someone ‘thinks’ you are staring at them (again, in this city while on the train) they take that as a sign of aggression, despite the fact their music is probably on maximum overdrive. Blimey! Cher xo

  9. Sorry to hear of this experience Suzie. So many people these days seem to have a major chip on the shoulder and just cannot seem to accept that they can’t just do whatever they want, whenever they want. They have no concept of the fact that other people are actually affected by their behaviour and that they might need to consider that. I see this every day on the roads – the amount of people that I have had to beep my horn at due to not indicating at roundabouts / when pulling out etc that has resulted in being subject to a tirade or abuse is unbelievable.People just can’t ever seem to hold their hands up and apologise anymore (so I wrote a small poem about that very thing just the other day haha!). Very much a sign of the ‘me generation’ we live in I think.

    • I couldn’t agree more. When i was teaching I worked with a lot of kids like that and they were learning it from their parents… it’s becoming more and more common now…

  10. I am so sorry you had this happen to you! I spent so many years, working in ER’s and dealing with people just like that for 12 hour shifts. Now that I am away from that, I do everything I can to avoid situations with those types of people. They can suck the energy right out of you. Here’s to a better weekend(without crazy train fools!)

  11. Bloody hell Suzie! What a shitty end to your weekend. I’m so sorry. Yes she most definitely is disturbed & probably went on to the train looking for a fight- hence the loud music. I’m just so sorry that it landed on you. Much love xxx

  12. What a horrible experience, Suzie.
    I get what you say about walking away. I’m getting used to that too, even though I want to stay and make the other person face the consequences of bad behaviour. It costs too much at times, doesn’t it?

  13. Wow. The train needs to refund your money. How dare they make it your responsibility to handle an unruly passenger. It’s not your job, it’s theirs. Especially when you are paying additional money for a better experience. Imagine if a flight attendant walked away from a similar situation on a plane.

  14. Awful experience for you, sorry to hear you had to go through it. Did you think about filming her? This can be something of a deterrent but also evidence of her behaviour towards you. Also – massively viral traffic generator for your blog – bonus! There again, it might have triggered even worse behaviour, perhaps even violence.

    • yeah i did think about voice recording her but didn’t have enough memory on my phone. I wouldn’t have openly filmed her – that would have escalated things very quickly…

  15. I am so very sorry. You are so right, lately people can be rude, abrupt and ruthless and somehow get away with it. Manners, common courtesies, and common sense seems to be passe’. I am so sorry you had to deal with this after such a wonderful weekend. ❤

  16. Things like that happen on the subway in NYC and it’s usually someone looking for a confrontation. That’s why I’ll ignore it. Not saying that you did anything wrong but a lot of people get their kicks from what are normally considered strange methods, especially if they aren’t all there. They go to crowded spaces to antagonize and get pleasure from making you uncomfortable and your reaction to it. I’m sorry that you expérienced that.

  17. This sort of thing happens more and more unfortunately and it’s the innocent parties like yourself that seem to end up worse off. The shouty sweary woman won’t be bothered at all, in fact she probably thinks it was all one big laugh. Well done for standing up and saying something though, if everyone did that then these situations wouldn’t occur.

  18. Coventry is full of crazies, I lived there for 4 years (uni) but flip me your luck is bound to turn very soon. Every time you try to do something nice with the bloke some inconsiderate low life manages to be a fly in the ointment. Grrr!

    Hang in there, good times are ahead!

  19. Oh that’s awful Suzie, what a shame it happened after the great time you’d had at the Bash and the surprise of your first class ticket was well and truly spoilt. It must have been scary and I don’t blame you for not pressing charges, it’s a dreadful position to be in. I’m so sorry for you. Thankfully we were lucky and had a very pleasant trip home to Bristol on the train.
    Only some people suck, not everyone…sending hugs.

  20. As I was reading the post, I started thinking about a friend of mine who went through something similar on BART. My friend’s combat caused PTSD is rated at 100 percent. His PTSD is so severe, he isn’t allowed to own firearms and this is the U.S. where owning firearms is considered more important than food, water or even using toilet paper.

    He even has an eighty-pound service dog that detects when his PTSD is close to being triggered and the dog is trained to distract him, because if his PTSD is triggered and he thinks he is in a combat situation, everyone he can reach is in danger of being severely injured or dead in seconds. This friend was a US Marine for four years and then he moved up to special forces for nine years. He served in the Middle East and can’t talk about some of his deployments because they are classified. While he was still serving in Special Forces, on one of his stays in the states with his wife and children, on the way home from the base one day, he stopped at a market where four young bullies started to make fun of him because of his uniform.

    He ignored them until they said they were going to follow him home and show his wife what real men were like. Later, the police told him that the market’s surveillance cameras caught the whole thing and that it took him 2.5 seconds to take out all four of these young men. My friend even let them throw the first punch … that never touched him.

    People like that slobbering, lying idiot with the loud music don’t have enough common sense or brains to realize that you don’t pick a fight with strangers because you never know how dangerous that stranger might be.

  21. Wow – what a horrible woman. And what an awful thing to go through. Clearly she didn’t appreciate the free pretzels if she was lobbing them round the carriage like that. Well done for sticking up for yourself and getting your point across x

  22. I’m sure there have always been people like this crazy women, but it just seems that there are more of them these days.
    How people can act out like this in public, how they can deal with other people in this manner, is truly mind-boggling. But from the sounds of it, this kind of thing happens to this woman often, so I tend to think that, like you, someday she will get what is coming too her.
    Sucks that your trip ended on such a bad note.

  23. It is a great shame, Helen, that your treat was spoiled like that. I have had a similar incident at the school. The woman behind me kept talking and making remarks so loudly I couldn’t hear the speeches. I asked her to please speak more quietly and she went off the rails. Fortunately, her mother was with her and she calmed her down. This happens in South Africa because of our difficult past. I am surprised this happens in the UK and hope it doesn’t become a trend.

    • I like to think that as Brits we’re an inclusive nation compared to many, but unfortunately issues of race, religion and sexuality is still prevalent. It was clearly some sort of issue that she had dealt with in the past, because I never mentioned race – she just looked at my skin colour and immediately took it as a threat. I was on a train from London to Birmingham, the two biggest and multicultural cities in the country, so it was sad that it became an issue

  24. Once upon a time in the US, half the passengers would have taken care of the problem by smashing the radio. There wouldn’t be the threat of going to court. Any sane company with common sense would have security isolate her elsewhere. Now, people everywhere are so afraid of the R word we’ve lost sight of the fact that common courtesy knows no color.

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