≡ Menu

16 Hours of Public Blather

In an epic incident of the pot calling the kettle rude, a Tigard, Oregon woman said she felt “disrespected” after police escorted her from an Amtrak train mostly because she refused to get off her cellphone — for 16 hours.

KATU.com reports:

Lakeysha Beard was charged with disorderly conduct after police said she got into a verbal altercation with passengers on the train. The other passengers complained she refused to put down her cellphone, even after train staff made repeated announcements for passengers to not use cellphones, according to police.

When a passenger confronted her about her loud talking, police said Beard got aggressive. She had reportedly been talking non-stop on the phone since getting on the train in Oakland, Calif.

Beard was taken into custody until a family member could come and pick her up.

Read the rest of the story here.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mames May 24, 2011, 5:29 am

    For some reason, when people are on cell phones, they seem to talk much louder than usual. Bad service, crappy phone, hard of hearing? Too bad it took them 16 hours to do something about it. Disregarding the rules in the ‘quiet car’ should have gotten her booted sooner. At least they did something about it.

  • Edhla May 24, 2011, 5:32 am

    All I want to know is:

    1. How on earth did her cell battery last 16 hours?

    2. Who on earth did she talk to for 16 hours?

  • karma May 24, 2011, 5:43 am

    I just hope Amtrak sticks to its decision and does not back down like several airlines have, issuing free tickets to offenders in the wake of the publicity. 16 hours goes beyond obsessive and into the realm of crazy people stuff. What a yucky woman.

  • QueenofAllThings May 24, 2011, 5:56 am

    Two things strike me – 1) What took the train personnel so long? and 2) who on earth can you find to talk to for 16 hours straight? Oh, and one more thing – what type of cellphone, because that’s an awesome battery!

  • Enna May 24, 2011, 6:22 am

    If she was in a quiet coach she should have texted with her phone on silent and at the most on vibrate. I’ve traveled in the quiet coach once and before the train started to move some business people were on their phones and I looked at them then looked at the sign, then back at them and the train manager announced which coaches were quiet ones. Another instance my firend was calling me and didn’t relise that she was in the quiet coach, she ended the call suddneley she texted to say she had been “told off” by a man. My firend is a consisterate person and if she had known she was on a quiet coach she wouldn’t have rung me in the first place. There is a differene between a mistake and being inconsiderate. The quiet coach is for people who need to rest or sleep after a long day/journey.

  • Hal May 24, 2011, 6:29 am

    It took Amtrak 16 hours to enforce a stated rule? The problem here is Amtrak employees. Passengers ought not have been subjected to more than one hour of rudeness by this woman. That is ample time to warn her the usual three times to be quiet on the “quiet” car. I have ridden that train out of Oakland. There are several places she could have been dropped in those 16 hours whichever direction she was headed, north, south or east. The passengers clearly had to try to enforce rules the Amtrak employees did not.

  • The Elf May 24, 2011, 6:38 am

    She was blathering on her cell phone for 16 hours IN THE QUIET CAR???? Wow. I used to ride the commuter train, and the front car was designated the quiet car. If you wanted to talk, there were 3-5 other cars for you, but the in the front one silence reigned. It was also the kid-free zone by extension, as you really can’t count on the very young to keep quiet. It was bliss after a hard day’s work. Sometimes I’d sleep, sometimes I’d read, sometimes I’d zone out to music (with headphones). Anyone talking on a cell phone got the glare from the other passengers and if they kept it up a conductor would come by and escort them to another car. The only exception was big delays, when it was understood that many people would whip out the cell phone for a couple minute chat with whoever was waiting for them to get home. The time a bomb threat delayed us for three hours, the quiet car rules were essentially suspended. But that was it – we had no security or police to enforce it. People just…. wait for it….. respected the rules. I think this was possible only because the bulk of the passengers were the same people every day, as you’d expect with a commuter train. I swear if someone talked non-stop on a cell phone for the entire train ride in the quiet car, there’d be blood. She got off light! I don’t buy that she “didn’t know”. From my experience, I would think she would have been told – repeatedly, and with increasingly firm language.

    Now, if it was the regular cars, then she wouldn’t be breaking the rules. It’s not polite, certainly, but also not against the rules. Why didn’t the Amtrak passengers who were bothered switch cars? I would have, in a heartbeat, rather than put up with that for 16 hours.

  • essie May 24, 2011, 6:40 am

    I believe it was Miss Manners who said that, if the conversation is loud enough to be overheard and the speaker is making no effort to keep it quiet, then obviously it’s a public discussion, so feel free to join in.

    After reading the article, it’s also clear that Ms. Beard was being rude by “hogging” the cell phone charging device.

    And “disrespected” is just soooo much more accusatory than “embarassed”, don’t you think?

  • Bint May 24, 2011, 6:59 am

    What a chav.

  • DGS May 24, 2011, 7:20 am

    Ah, Amtrak in all of its glory…A few years ago, I was doing a post-doc up at Yale, in CT, while my now-husband, then-fiance, was in our hometown of Philadelphia, doing his cardiology fellowship. We would alternate weekends commuting back and forth, as I lived in New Haven during the week, while he lived in our home in Philly. Most of the time, my fellow travelers were lovely and considerate people; however, both DH and I have quite a few stories of people who were outrageously rude from our North-East Corridor travels.

    One time, I boarded a very busy Friday night train (the trains were always running late and packed to the gills Friday night) and had to sit next to a gentleman who watched a porn movie on his laptop the entire ride from New Haven to New York City (all other seats were taken, and I had walked down several cars before I found a seat, so there was nowhere for me to go until he and a bunch of other passengers disembarked at Penn Station). I had nowhere to go and did not want to engage him in conversation (how do you start that one? Whatcha watchin’ there, big guy?), but I was also too creeped out to pretend to sleep, so I buried my head in a book and toughed it out.

    Another time, I was in the aforementioned quiet car, doing some work on my laptop for an upcoming presentation, when a woman got on who proceeded to regale the entire car with her loud conversation with several of her girl friends (she would call one, talk to her, hang up, call another girl friend, repeat) where she would give her friends the blow-by-blow of her most recent date, including the unnecessary getting down details. Each of the conversations would start with, “Hey, I’m on the choo-choo (off topic: Unless you’re 10, choo-choo is not a cute sobriquet; it’s annoying, cut it out), wanna hear how my date with XYZ went?” The rest of the passengers were either working, sleeping or reading quietly, and by looking around, I could tell that most people were fuming. Around New Rochelle, I finally got up the cojones to say to this woman, “Excuse me, but would you mind keeping it down? You are in the quiet car”, at which point she proceeded to curse me out and tell me to mind my own business (insert expletives at will). I went to get the conductor who escorted her to another car, and peace was temporarily restored.

    My DH also had a story about a woman who spread her bags and other belongings on four seats (two seats with a table between them facing each other) in one of the Acela cars and gave the other passengers and subsequently, the conductor, the evil eye and a lot of lip when she was asked to keep her belongings in the overhead bin or under her seat and allow other people to share her conveyance. When the conductor threatened to charge her for 3 more Acela tickets, she relented but not without grumbling about “some people” the whole time.

    Train etiquette = just as important as car/plane/bipedal etiquette.

  • Patti Purcell May 24, 2011, 7:23 am

    How wonderful some people think rules don’t apply to them. Why does she think, oh what the heck, I can keep talking loudly. Can you “imagine what a B She is in the rest of her life. Who the heck wants to ehar some one else’s consversation for that long. Why did it take them so long to escort her off the train. I would have complained too.

  • Stephenie May 24, 2011, 7:32 am

    Why did they allow this woman to continue in a quiet car for 16 hours before doing anything about it??

  • Aje May 24, 2011, 7:37 am

    You mean someone was willing to LISTEN to her for 16 hours? And 16 hours passed before anyone DID anything about it besides complaining? Good grief!

  • Anonymous Works For Me May 24, 2011, 7:41 am

    I think it’s important to add that this car was a quiet car meant for passengers who desired that. There were apparently places on the train that she could use her phone. What a winner!

  • J's Mama May 24, 2011, 8:13 am

    Clearly, she’s mistaken on the definition of disrepected. Another passenger walking over, grabbing her phone, and stomping on it would be disrepected. Too bad it took 16 hours for her to be booted off the train.

  • boxy May 24, 2011, 8:14 am

    It bothers me that this woman doesn’t even care about other people.

  • Teapot May 24, 2011, 8:28 am

    Regarding the phone’s battery life, if you click on the link to the story, apparently Amtrak has chargers on the cars. So she could have talked forever.

    I love how, after torturing her fellow passengers for more than half a day, she actually had the nerve to say she felt ‘disrespected’ for being taken off of the train. Remember once upon a time when you had to earn respect?

  • Elizabeth May 24, 2011, 8:43 am

    A key part of the story is missing here – this woman was seated in the Quiet Car.

    She only had to move to another car to talk all she wanted.

  • Stepmomster May 24, 2011, 8:56 am

    This wouldn’t happen in California. You would have had people taking numbers to tell her to get off her phone; and I am afraid that none of them would be readers of this website.

  • badkitty May 24, 2011, 9:00 am

    I read about this when the story was just her getting booted from the train… I can’t believe she’s actually going to complain about it and continue to ask why! Apparently the Amtrak staff and other passengers had tried to get her to stop and she’d become “aggressive” (threatening physical violence to anyone who asked her to get off the phone) and of course it is not the job of railroad employees to put themselves in danger to enforce the rules any more than it could be considered the job of any passenger. Unfortunately, rail/airline/bus courtesy rules are not laws, and it takes some time before a passenger’s behavior crosses the line between rules of etiquette and rules of law – I’m not sure that it takes 16 hours, but it probably took much of that time to set something up, considering the train kept moving from one jurisdiction to the next. Ultimately, the other passengers were further inconvenienced by this woman when the train had to make a special stop so that the police, a negotiator, and a k-9 unit could handle her. And her complaints that she was “disrespected” get her even MORE attention – no wonder this woman clearly thinks she’s the center of the universe!

    (By the way, there’s some youtube video of the whole incident, and you can tell as she’s stepping off the train and dealing with police that she’s not crazy, intoxicated, or any other excuse you could think to make – she is genuinely confused and really doesn’t understand that she did anything wrong. Yeah, because all those people who asked you to keep quiet in the quiet car were crazy, hon… )

  • Vicky May 24, 2011, 9:09 am

    Unfortunately common courtesy and knowing what topics and sound levels are appropriate for cell phone conversations have gone out the window these days.

    I remember being on the Acela from DC to Boston several years ago with my then 4-year old daughter. Behind us was a gentleman having a rather loud conversation regarding adultery and erectile dysfunction. And this was not a quick conversation either. As I did not want to have to explain to my 4-year-old what ED was, I stood up, looked over my seat, and told the “gentleman” I can hear every word you say and so can my 4 year old. His face turned beet red and he abruptly ended the conversation.

    Having a chat to kill time while on the train (not in the quiet car) is fine. Except that one needs to remember to be appropriate in sound level and topic.

  • Lizajane May 24, 2011, 9:22 am

    I am so sick of the misuse of the words “respect” and “disrespect” and their tenses and forms.

    Why in the world would anyone on that train have reason to respect her? They didn’t know her. Has she done any heroic or altruistic deeds to make her worthy of respect? I don’t know.

    There is an alarming trend to interchange the word “respect” for “civility”.

  • Alexis May 24, 2011, 9:31 am

    I think it’s horrifying that the Amtrak staff were such weenies that the PASSENGERS had to confront her about it while staff just kept “announcing” the rules over loudspeaker or whatever. When someone is truly inconsiderate they will NEVER respond to passive-aggressive “reminders” to the whole train. Since rules don’t apply to them and she’s too busy talking to listen to announcements anyway staff really need to go up to her and say “I’m sorry, but if you’re still talking on your cell phone in 10 minutes you will have to disembark in [next stop] and your ticket will be refunded. Refusal to follow Amtrak guidelines results in denial of service.”

    I ride the light rail to & from work every day and these people are EVERYWHERE. Usually the train is dead silent at 7 am but in the afternoon… Deafening cell phone or interpersonal conversations, playing music from their phones speakers (always the worst music possible), or one person even DANCING and SINGING with headphones in. NOBODY wants to hear that because NOBODY sounds good with earbuds in.

  • --Lia May 24, 2011, 9:37 am

    I know why she didn’t want a car that allows cell conversations: It’s noisy in there! I see this all the time. People don’t want to talk in the section of the library that allows talking because they want a quiet place to talk. In the days when airlines had smoking sections, it wasn’t unusual for a smoker to demand a seat in the no-smoking section. When they wanted a cigarette, they’d stand in the aisle of the smoking section. Why? They didn’t want to sit in a seat with all that smoke. And then there are the parents who insist on bringing their children to late night cocktail parties. That way the kids can annoy adults and be the center of attention. If they brought the children to appropriate children’s entertainment, there would be all those children around, and who wants that?

  • Elle May 24, 2011, 9:52 am

    *This* is why they shouldn’t allow cell planes in airplanes. Forget the technological difficulties, forget the “does it or does it not interfere with the instuments” debate – incidences of air rage will shoot through the roof if they allow cell phones in the cabin during flight.

  • AS May 24, 2011, 10:21 am

    WOW! That was rude. And what a hypocrite to say that she felt “disrespected” after she totally disregarded the comfort of her co-passengers for 16hours straight! I too was wondering how her battery lasted that long, but then read that she was using the Amtrak’s charging device.

    I echo Aje – did someone listen to her for 16 hours?
    And what are her vocal chords made up of? My voice starts giving up after about an hour or 2 of speaking (and I am very talkative). 16 hours of talking and listening continuously would make me awfully tired.

    I remember a time when I was guilty of talking loudly in public. Boyfriend and I were waiting at a bus stop on a cold, windy winter day. I am short of hearing, and I had covered up my ears with a hoodie. I could not hear myself too well, but my bf said that I was real loud. So, we avoided talking until we got home because I couldn’t hear how loud I was and we didn’t want to bother the other people around (and I didn’t want to take the hood off).

    BTW, I was once witness to two women talking a to another woman across 2 coupes discussing how their neighbour’s child eloped and married. Ok… I admit, it was entertaining 😛 ! It wasn’t in a quite compartment. I should not have eves dropped in – but I couldn’t help it, and would have preferred not to have heard a word of it.

  • Ashley May 24, 2011, 10:45 am

    I don’t get how Amtrak let it go for 16 hours. I take Amtrak from Milwaukee to Chicago on occasion and I once was once in a quiet car with a guy on his phone and trust me, within minutes, there was someone coming to him and explaining that it was the quiet car. I hate rude people on cell phones. I used to be a cashier at a fast food place, that was the worst. There was one woman who was holding up the whole line during the lunch rush because apparently talking to her friend about the concert they went to the night before was more important than talking to me about what she wanted to eat. I tried four times to get her to move aside till she was off her phone so I could keep the line moving. I finally had to get a manager because she had been standing DIRECTLY in front of my register for almost ten minutes and hadn’t ordered a thing. Then she had the nerve to leave all in a huff because we asked her to step aside till she was ready to order.

  • Jillybean May 24, 2011, 10:53 am

    To those asking what phone she has and how the battery lasted, Amtrak trains have outlets. To the person that suggested she was “hogging” the charging area, the outlet was likely at her seat, and therefore even if she wasn’t using it, someone else wouldn’t have been.

    That said – it’s APPALLING at that train staff didn’t insist that she simply move to another car. That would have solved the problem immediately. “Hi ma’am, we’ve had a few complaints. Perhaps you didn’t realize you had boarded the quiet car, but we have a few seats in the car behind us. If you’d prefer not to move we’ll have to ask you to hang up the phone.” If she doesn’t take either of those choices, she is escorted off the train at the next stop. Pretty simple. Amtrak owes everyone on that car an apology and a refund – except the woman on the phone obviously. Unless no one reported her for 16 hours, there is absolutely no excuse for Amtrak not enforcing the policy.

    Oh – and I LOVE the quiet car! 🙂

  • Anastasia May 24, 2011, 11:11 am

    One minor topic: I notice the use of the phrase “he/she disrespected me” more often lately, and it always seems to have nothing to do with real respect. Respect is given to worthy actions, not blanket approval of every single thing a person chooses to do.

  • Shea May 24, 2011, 11:17 am

    To those wondering about the phone battery– Many Amtrak trains have power outlets for passengers’ use.

  • Louise May 24, 2011, 11:19 am

    I’ve never heard of quiet cars on trains. Are there signs? I can see entering one unwittingly, but she should have quit talking or moved when she was told to.

    People like this make me so curious. Why do you feel disrespected? What did you think would happen when you refused to comply with the rules the first/second/third time? How many chances do you need?

  • ferretrick May 24, 2011, 11:31 am

    When they finally did boot her, I wonder if it was like that scene in As Good As It Gets when the restaurant manager finally bans Jack Nicholson and everyone starts applauding.

    Another thought-why do businesses put up with this sort of thing? Accomodating this one rude customer for 16 HOURS ticked off how many other paying customers?

  • lnelson1218 May 24, 2011, 11:34 am

    I would love to ask her why she feels disrespected. Seriously? After ignoring the rules of the quiet car, having people (hopefully) pointing out to her that it was a quiet, which she clearly ignored, why is she surprised that there was a reaction and one not in her favor? This might come under in order to get respect you should give respect.

    I know that there are truly clueless people are out. Unfortunately she is one of them.

  • Brenda May 24, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I take public transit to work every day, spending about 2 1/2 hours total. In that time, the amount of this type of thing that I have seen has led me to start a blog, just so I can vent.

    One night, my kids were with me coming home, as they had attended a family-oriented party at my work. We got on the bus (a nice, comfy, commuter bus) and kicked back for the trip home. It appears Ms. Beard’s cousin was on the bus with us, because she spent the entire trip calling up all her baby daddies, wanting to know where the money was, and one call to one man who was not a baby daddy but wanted to be, and from there to calling all her fellow baby mamas to complain about all of the previous people she had called. Understand, I didn’t intentionally listen in, but she was so loud. But she wasn’t loud enough for the driver to really hear her, just those of us in the back half of the bus.

    And that was just one night. I post about three times a week regarding unacceptable behavior.

    I have really come to hate cell phone plans with unlimited talk.

  • The Elf May 24, 2011, 12:38 pm

    RE: Louise, signs announcing quiet cars

    My commuter rail had signs announcing the quiet car hanging from the ceiling of the car upon entrance. They also made announcements. Occassionally, we’d have a quiet car violator and sometimes someone would bring it to their attention. Usually, they didn’t realize they were in the quiet car and shut up or left. I can see how someone could miss it, but I doubt that Ms. Beard missed all signs, announcements, pointed remarks by passengers, etc. That she is claiming ignorance is just plain silly.

  • Baku-chan May 24, 2011, 1:01 pm

    To the people wondering how the battery lasted:

    “Beard’s rudeness wasn’t accommodated by some unknown super phone, but by Amtrak’s handy cellphone charging stations. “

  • LilyG May 24, 2011, 1:17 pm

    Wow, I would be hoarse after 3 hours…

  • --E May 24, 2011, 1:17 pm

    Louise: I don’t know about the specific train this woman was on, but the Northeast Corridor Amtrak trains (Acela and regular) all have many, many, many signs. There’s a sign at the entrance to the car (either end) and also signs hanging from the ceiling every five feet.

    This woman was [insert every foul description you can think of here]. She was in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, and obviously glad to do it.

    What I don’t understand is how it was permitted to go on for 16 hours. The conductor in charge of that section should get a stern warning and some training in how to deal with this situation. I don’t imagine the woman waited 15.5 hours before she got belligerent. At the first sign of it, the cops should have been called.

    I’ve been on Amtrak b/t NYC and DC many times, and often experienced people yapping in the Quiet Car (on their phones or to each other). In every case, a conductor shut them down in short order–if their fellow passengers didn’t do it first.

  • Peep May 24, 2011, 2:02 pm

    This story reminded me of two incidents I’ve experienced, one happened this past Sunday. One about cell phone abuse, the other about someone claiming they were being “disrespected”.

    I don’t understand some people and their cell phones. If I want to have a long conversation, I do it at home. I don’t even give out my cell number to anyone. I don’t want to be called when I’m out doing things. I’m out doing things! If I want to talk, I’ll call when I’m home and have nothing else going on.

    Sunday I went to see a movie. After the movie I was in the bathroom using the facilities. A lady walks in, and I can hear her on the cell phone. She walks past my stall, still on the phone, enters the stall next to me, still on the phone, and proceeds to take care of her business, still on the phone. Sadly this is not the first time I’ve seen this.

    The second incident happened a while ago(pre-9/11). I made the mistake of flying a particular budget airline. I’d had problems on the way to my destination(6+ hour delay), and I was having problems getting home as well(6+ hour delay on the way back). After HOURS of waiting, we finally board the plane! Everyone was tired and cranky, but happy to be finally going. It was well after midnight, and everyone was getting into their seats really quickly. It was the fastest I’ve ever seen a plane board. Everyone just wanted to GET GOING. Anyway, something happened, and three people were called to be pulled off the plane. I heard it was due to health reasons, but I’m not sure. Two people got up, got their bags, and left quietly. The third person…oh no.

    What followed would probably have landed this person in jail these days. The third person was a woman, and she wasn’t going quietly. She got out of her seat, went to front of the plane, and proceeded to create one of the most spectacular displays of crazy I’ve ever seen. She freaked out. She kept screaming she was being disrespected. She was being “repressed”. She kept calling for the other passengers to call the FBI because the airline was repressing her rights. It went on and on for over an hour. Every time someone tried to get her to be quiet, she’d get crazier. Every time someone tried to get her off the plane, she’s grab the seats around her and start to thrash around. She kept calling to all the passengers to stop the flight crew from trying to get her off the plane. After 6 hours waiting to get on the plane, there wasn’t a single person who didn’t want this woman off the plane, even if they had to tie her down and drag her down the aisle. And after that display, there wasn’t a single passenger that wanted to fly with her either.

    The airport police arrived. Somehow they managed to get her out the door, and 10 minutes later we were in the air.

    After witnessing that, I can actually understand how it took them 16 hours to get her off the train. The train is moving, and they’d need time to assemble the police to meet the train. She probably ignored or just freaked out at every attempt to stop her from the crew and other passengers. People like that are pretty scary to deal with in real life. You never really know what they’re going to do if you confront them, so a lot of times it’s best to just leave them be until law professionals can take over.

  • Walden May 24, 2011, 2:20 pm

    “Disrespect” in this instance means “not being afraid that I’m going to kick your butt” in other words, refusing to submit to her wants and needs.

  • Melly May 24, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I’m not sure about the US and quiet coaches, but most trains in the UK have quiet coaches. I try and book the quiet coach as much as possible because I tend to take the train late at night or early in the morning. I was traveling at night on one train to get to the airport for an early check-in. I just wanted to sleep. No, this group of men were on the train and the only place they could find seats together was in the quiet coach. They were so noisy and disruptive. They thought it was so cute that they were in the quiet coach and weren’t being quiet. Unfortunately the conductor did nothing about their behaviour but I was glad when they got off the train about an hour later.

  • Xtina May 24, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Amtrak should be ashamed of itself for not dealing with this problem more quickly than it did. I hope they offered all the OTHER passengers on that car an apology and a free ticket/drink/snack/whatever as a good-faith gesture to make up for it.

    Rude cell phone talkers are one of my big pet peeves. If you simply must talk, then at least take it somehwere where you blend in more. The QUIET CAR of a train? Really? Clue number one for Amtrak that this woman wasn’t going to respond to repeated reminders that this was the quiet train; obviously people like Ms. Beard has programmed herself to think she’s above the rules.

    She felt disrespected? Oh, boo hoo. She’s lucky the other passengers didn’t give her the bum’s rush right out of the back of the moving train. Now THAT would have been being disrespected (but much deserved). I find that people who constantly use the phrase “I was disrespected” and the like are usually the people who do the least to earn respect, or respect other people. It seems to escape them that respect must be earned in order to be given in return.

  • Lizajane May 24, 2011, 3:24 pm


    The part of your post that I question is that Amtrak couldn’t do anything about it until she broke a law in whatever jurisdiction they were in at the time. The train is Amtrak’s property, why can’t they enforce their own rules?

  • badkitty May 24, 2011, 4:31 pm

    when a customer becomes violent, or even threatens violence, any ability of an employee to “enforce” their own rules is virtually nonexistent. The woman was asked to either be quiet or leave and she refused, shouting and threatening for good measure. What were the train personnel supposed to do about that? How were they to “enforce” without resorting to physical means? If the conductor had physically touched that awful woman he could have been seriously injured in a fight, but he DEFINITELY would have been charged with battery (doesn’t matter that he didn’t hurt her, you can’t put your hands on someone who doesn’t want you to no matter what they’ve done to deserve it). This is like saying that I shouldn’t have to call the police to get rid of a drunken party guest: it’s my house and I can just knock him over the head and toss him out, right? Nope, can’t even threaten to do it (threats fall under the criminal definition of assault). I’m not saying the Amtrak employees couldn’t do anything, I’m saying let’s give them credit for doing what they could: they asked her to stop, repeatedly, and then they arranged to let the police handle it.

  • Brenda May 24, 2011, 4:33 pm

    badkitty (hattip to Lizajane), IANAL, but I believe that when you buy a ticket you enter into a contract. This contract involves agreement to follow certain rules on both sides of the contract. If this is the case, Amtrak could have kicked her off at any stop. However, you are probably right that they believed it best to allow the police to handle her, to protect their employees and other passengers.

  • Andrea B. May 24, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Stepmomster: the train actually left from Oakland, CA. 😉

  • Mary J. May 24, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I have felt as though I need to become a Tee Avenger (or just plain train avenger); cloaked in mystery, standing up for politeness and common decency aboard public transportation!

    I take the amtrak to Maine to visit family- once I saw someone lighting a cigarette in the train car. He played with his lighter for about an hour, and went and smoked in the bathroom. He did not get kicked off- I told the crew, and they just warned him a few times. I have nothing against smokers personally (my sister is addicted so I don’t judge people on their smoking habits) but I strongly believe that smoke free means just that.

    On the Tee, manners are non-existant. Here in Boston, I take the green line from school to home, or now from work to home. There is a young man with a see-ing eye dog on my line. That dog is so brilliant. Anyway, the blind young man must sit a one of two seats in the front so his dog can crawl right up underneath him. One night, this young man and I board the train. I am too far away to help, or else I would have. It is late at night, and yet this young family is on the Tee- two children around 7 and 10, and a mother and father. They are occupying four seats, one of which is needed by the young man. In the other seat he could use across the aisle is an old man on crutches. Who gets up????

    The old man on crutches gives his seat to the young blind man. I am livid now, trying to make my way to the front of the train to give these people a lesson (as an excuse for the rest of the train, most people were reading or engrossed elsewhere- this is why the rest of the seats didn’t immediately become available to the old man). Anyway, and I love him for this, this old man requested one of the children move- child slid onto mom’s lap. My parents would never be sitting- a seat is for someone who is older, differently abled or injured, pregnant, and then finally lazy or very tired. My parents would also encourage me to stand (7 and 9 is plenty old to do this) or, if I was sitting, stand immediately to offer my seat to someone else.

    The second time I rode with the young man and his dog I saw him get off. He had to go down some narrow stairs from the Tee (yes, the green line is awful). Standard operating procedure is to let the people exit the car first before you enter- the tee may leave with people that need to exit but will not leave paying customers behind. And this man needed a little extra time and space to exit.

    This girl about my age comes stomping up the stairs, breaking the first rule. She notices the man, and continues up the stairs, pays her fair and sits down. The guy and dog had to back uncomfortably up the stairs- and he was delayed from exiting for a good few minutes while she paid with cash. An older couple allowed him to exit before they came on. I was so ashamed and angry at her behavior- I understand slipping up when you’re in a rush but the moment you see a seeing eye dog or a person with a heavy load or whatever, isn’t the response to get out of the way and rectify your error?

    Anyway, this story reminds me of the awfulness of the tee. I have dealt with so many loud talkers on the tee- I just put on my music as loud as it can go and zone out if possible. This woman is so rude and is totally in ehell.

  • Leslie Holman-Anderson May 24, 2011, 5:07 pm

    Well, I did a little online research on this one, and there’s more to it than just talking on the phone for 16 hours straight — though IMO, that’s plenty. It seems that Ms. Beard was asked repeatedly by her fellow passengers to quiet down on the Quiet Car, to which she responded with verbal abuse along the lines of “You can KMA! I paid for my ticket just like you did, and you need to stay over in your seat and leave me alone.” (According to the article where I found this, they had toned it down considerably for publication, and I toned it down further by turning most of that first sentence into initials.) That’s where the disorderly conduct charge came in. And yes, she genuinely doesn’t get it that she was in any way out of line.

  • shari May 24, 2011, 5:17 pm

    In an ideal world the train attendant probably should have asked her to be quiet sooner or the police called but I think it’s unfair to lay the blame on them.
    In the train attendant’s defence if I was the one who had to ask her to quieten it down or leave I would be worried about what she would do to me physically if she is rude enough to use the phone in the first place.
    Confrontation is not something that some people handle very well and I would wonder how much training someone in that type of position would get as support.

  • Clair Seulement May 24, 2011, 5:38 pm

    GET OFF THE PHONE. Talking on your cell phone in public (to the degree that others are a captive audience) is rude. It is never not rude unless it’s an emergency.

    It is a fact that an auditory stimulus competes more than any of the five senses for mental resources. If we hear something, our nervous system wants to attend to it. That is why it is almost impossible to read while someone is speaking loudly nearby (provided you understand what they are saying)—you can’t pay attention to one set of verbiage while hearing another. Cell phone use IS EVEN WORSE than loud conversations taking place on-premises because of the cognitive dissonance that results from our being unable to predict the course of the conversation by hearing the other half—the human mind is just not equipped to abide half of a conversation, and it actually makes us anxious and irritable. Add to that the fact that cell phone conversations are usually conducted more loudly owing to the reception/virtual removal from current circumstances, and you are actually robbing me of my own thoughts when you gab on your phone.

    Cell phone conversations themselves, and *not* whether they are conducted on a handheld device, are also what constitute the real danger to motorists. The mental resources required to have a conversation that is not taking place in where you are is what is distracting.

    I can’t be more serious and annoyed by our new Talk on the Phone Constantly culture. Quiet cars are great but how much do they simply exacerbate phone-induced thought and time theft all over the rest of the train?