The New York Subway is insane.
As a person who grew up in the New York City area (and is now living in Brooklyn) it’s very normal for me to see at least one ridiculous fight, rodent or unwelcome bodily fluid before 9 a.m. Every morning on my commute, I watch the circus that is the L train (the main line between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and one of the most notoriously busy in the city) unfold around me. In fact, it’s almost weirder if something doesn’t happen. It’s too many people, with too many opinions, all shoved into a small train car together. And as the weather heats up, people become exceptionally cranky.
But a few weeks ago I saw a subway fight unlike any I’ve seen before. And I’ll say it again: I’m a New Yorker. I’ve seen my fair share of nuts.
Then .Mic published a video on Facebook. It now has over 16 million views. I immediately realized: it was the same fight. In fact, I was in it.
You can see my cameo in the background right at the start. I’m on the left, holding a coffee and watching the horrifying bigotry unfold in front of me.
This is how things unfolded.
There was a small, red-faced man in a seersucker suit, wearing a straw hat, and sunglasses—inside the subway. I didn’t catch his name, but can only assume he was an extra on Miami Vice.
Mr. Miami Vice got on the train and started yelling racial slurs at a black woman sitting across from me. She had a seat, he didn’t, and this was enough to make him go off.
He called her horrible names, and just…didn’t stop. It was terrifying. He called her a c**t, multiple times. He told her he was supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump—so she would “go back to the fields”. I have never experienced such scary, blatant racism in my life. Being stuck in a train car with this hate-filled man was hell on earth.
I can’t even imagine what it was like to be the woman he was yelling at.
Back at my computer, I read the comments on the video. There were the usual opinions: Trump supporters defending their candidate, and other commenters who were plain ignorant, just there to rant. There were people addressing mental health concerns and gun control. "What if this man had a gun?" they asked—a valid and frightening concern.