I was recently riding the sky train to my writing class. I had my iphone firmly plugged into my ears and I was enjoying my favorite band, U2, when I noticed a man sitting diagonally from me. He had a walker in front of him and you could tell that he had some issues with mobility. Unfortunately, he was also wearing a slightly dirty red raincoat and an old baseball cap. You could say that he almost looked homeless. Anyway, as the train slid from station to station, I realized that he was becoming agitated and was speaking loudly to some people standing by the doors. I loosened one of my ear buds discreetly. I heard him loudly saying to these people “Push the button” but everyone was pretending to not hear him. He was getting louder and finally one guy asked him “What do you need it pushed for?” “I need help” was the reply. Some of the folks standing around all looked at each other, as if they were the deciding group. “What help do you need?” “I just need help” the gentleman kept saying. “If you tell us what you need, then we will push the button” The man with the walker was getting more and more agitated and just kept getting louder with his request to “Push the button.” Eventually, as each stop passed by he started to change his request to “Push the godamn button, assholes.” Now the group that he had been asking told him “You don’t have to be rude.” I was becoming more upset myself, what was the big deal in pushing the button? Why were they deciding when the button could be pushed? The entire small crowd that were refusing to help him had turned slightly so they couldn’t see him. I couldn’t believe it, here was a group of strangers, deciding not to push some tiny button for someone. What were they afraid of, disrupting their busy day? I still had two stops before my own, so I took out my earbuds, put my purse on my shoulder and pushed through the small crowd. As I approached the doors I stopped by the emergency button. I reached out and pushed. Everyone stood staring at me with looks of horror on their faces. The speaker crackled and a voice asked “Sky train emergency, how can we help?” I leaned toward the speaker and said clearly “There’s a gentleman on my train car that needs some assistance, could someone meet us at the next station please?” “Sure” was the reply. As the train slowed I could see security guards walking along the platform. When the doors slid open, I pushed through the crowd, and motioned to them. As they entered the car I pointed to the gentleman with the walker, wearing the red rain coat. “This is the man who needs some help.” and I exited the train.
I think I may have pushed a few buttons that day.