So I spoke to a lady on the D.C. Metro yesterday.
Not old, not young--she was sitting in a handicapped seat.
What happened to her?
She told me how this last year as she was riding the train, it had suddenly and ferociously jerked forward, and then backwards.
The fierceness of jerking motion breaking the top of her arm--the humerus--vertically right down the middle in a horrible break.
As she was talking her eyes glazed over remembering what happened.
She found herself on the floor of the train lying in excruciating pain.
One kind lady stayed with her as the paramedics were on their way.
She overheard others on the train actually complaining in earshot that they were being delayed "because of her!"
She was taken to the ER, and ended up spending 2 1/2 months in the hospital and rehabilitation center.
As explained, they couldn't cast this type of break, and she wasn't allowed to sleep laying down--she had to sleep in a chair--again she said how the pain was so bad and unlike anything she ever experienced, incuding childbirth and bypass heart surgery.
Professionally, she was a lawyer for the government, but ended up not suing Metro, shaking her head that it just wasn't worth it.
In her wallet, she showed me her Metro disability card that they gave her so she could sit in the special seats now and get a reduced rate riding the train.
Shaking her head, she exclaimed that even though she is mostly healed now, she never stands on a moving train anymore, always making sure she is sitting and nestled next to something.
I could see the emotional pain on her face as she told me her story, and she seemed generally afraid of ever going through anything like that again.
At the same time that she was talking to me, in eyesight was a younger man hanging out by the center doors on the metro, overfident and not holding on--actually leaning way back on his backback against the doors, almost daydreaming.
Not everyone heard this lady's story...maybe they should.
Overall, Metro seems chronically underfunded or mismanaged and in desperate need of major repairs and replacements--train, tracks, escalators, elevators, everything.
The system is a mess and it needs urgent attention.
Why does it always take a tragedy to finally get action?
Coincidentally, I saw today that Metro (WMATA) is advertising in the Wall Street Journal for a new General Manager and Chief Executive Officer--yep, good luck to that person, they will definitely need it and a lot more! ;-)
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Christian).