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Angry man on train!

(45 Posts)
ToT0 Sat 06-Dec-14 12:31:49

I just wanted to gage opinion on this one. I realise I can be a bit over sensitive at times so I'm not sure if I'm overreacting.

Apologies it's also a bit long! I did also find the whole situation a bit scary so I'd also be interested to get other people's thoughts on how they would have handled this situation in case something like this happens again.

Last night I went to an evening work event. I live about a half hour train ride out of town and took a commuter train back at the end of the evening.

The train was crowded but I got a seat. I'd had a long, tiring week at work and just started quietly reading a book and relaxing. Just before the train was about to depart a crowd of people jumped on and a middle aged man came and sat next to me. He had clearly had a few drinks and was a bit loud and jolly. I wouldn't have at immediately thought he was very drunk though.

He was having a bit of banter with another man who had got a seat a few rows down who looked like he was his friend - although I wasn't sure. A group of about six middle aged women also ran on at the same time. They all seemed a bit tipsy and appeared to have been at a separate work do.
Some sat in neighbouring seats and stood in the gangways. I sat quietly reading my book and was vaguely aware the man was talking to the women.

At one point I realised they were all staring at me and laughing.
I looked up and the man said he wanted me to stand up so one of the group of women in the gangway could have my seat. He said this was because he wanted to sit next to her. He didn't say this in a bantering or jokey way. It seemed quite aggressive and rude.

The woman didn't look obviously infirm and didn't seem of desperate need of sitting down. So I calmly said that if he thought the lady needed to sit, he could perhaps give up his own seat as there were no others free.

The man then launched an angry rant at me saying repeatedly I was 'stupid' and a 'snob'. The whole carriage was silent apart from the women who seemed to be egging him on, giggling as the man raged on at me.
I have never experienced anything like it before.
It was as though he went from 0 to 160mph in the space of a second, in terms of aggression.

My heart was pounding but I did my best to speak calmly and assertively. I said wasn't sure why he was shouting at me as I'd just been quietly reading my book. He shouted loudly at me several times 'to shut the fuck up' and said repeatedly that I was 'stupid'. He said that 'everyone around me was laughing and joking and I was sitting reading my book because I was a stupid snob'.

What horrified me the most was that of the whole packed carriage not a single person intervened. The women just sat laughing during his entire unprovoked 5 minute rant. I felt as though I was cornered by these people - I was sitting next to the window and I would have had to slide across him to change seats.

My phone was out of battery and I felt a bit threatened. I felt the only way of stopping it escalating further was to try and disarm him. So I smiled at him. I apologised if I had inadvertently offended him but said I hadn't realised he had been trying to involve me in a conversation. He then did calm down, admitted he had had 'a few drinks at a work do' and started apologising profusely to me and shook my hand.

He said his friend, who at no point had intervened, was a policeman. He said he had what seemed to be quite a good job and then started doling out career advice to me! I was very vague about my actual job. When he got off the train with his friend, the previously silent women started being nice to me, saying things like. 'I bet you're relieved he's got off..!' 'Don't worry we heard and saw everything!'

I was shaking though as soon as I got off the train I burst into tears.
From the information he gave me it's probably quite possible to track him down. Should I just notch it up to experience - he did apologise after all? Or should I speak to the police or possibly even his employer? If they're letting staff get into that kind of state at work events shouldn't they be made aware of the impact?

wowfudge Sat 06-Dec-14 12:36:38

Jesus - I would report to station staff. They'll have the wanker on CCTV. No one should be treated like that. There is one tiny saving grace - he did apologise to you. There is too much appalling behaviour from drunk people, but drinking - and drinking too much - seems to be the norm and socially acceptable.

Good on you for having the wherewithal to diffuse the situation and shame on your fellow passengers.

Pumpkinpositive Sat 06-Dec-14 12:37:12

Sounds like you handled it pretty well, all things considered. What do you realistically think you could have done differently/better? It was obviously an unpleasant situation and you defused it.

I'm the confrontational sort who would have threatened to start screaming or pull the emergency cord. Definitely not a better reaction! grin

DustInTheWind Sat 06-Dec-14 12:38:08

They saw and heard everything and did nothing?
He was a pissed, aggressive arse who bullied you, and I despise passive onlookers who see bad stuff happening and do nothing.
Up to you what you decide to do next, but history will be rewritten unless you have an independent witness.
Never let your phone be out of charge, you could have had the police waiting for him as he got of the train.

bauhausfan Sat 06-Dec-14 12:41:08

Oh poor you - that is just horrible. Can't believe his friend was a policeman! What a disgrace! I once had a (either mentally ill or high on drugs) big guy scream at me that he was going to kill my baby on a bus in the middle of the day. The bus was full and not one person said a thing. I got off the bus and cried my eyes out. It was being let down by all the people who were listening which was equally upsetting as the threat to my baby. Definitely report him to the police, the bastard.

wowfudge Sat 06-Dec-14 12:41:14

Just a thought for safety re: mobile phones - you can buy chargeable power packs which you can then plug your phone into by USB cable to recharge anywhere. Worth having if you travel alone. They can fully charge a phone a few times from one overnight charge of the power pack.

rookiemater Sat 06-Dec-14 12:41:30

Well done OP, I'd probably have given the lady a seat to avoid an incident as I find drunk, angry men quite frightening. It's sad that no one else in the carriage intervened, particularly his friend who as a policeman should be well equipped with the skills to defuse the situation.

Inselaffe Sat 06-Dec-14 12:42:21

I'd report it to his employers - station staff can't do anything except log the incident. Or you could report him to the BTP who will be able to access the station CCTV.

TheReluctantCountess Sat 06-Dec-14 12:42:32

That sounds bloody scary. You handled it really well.

wowfudge Sat 06-Dec-14 12:44:39

I suggested reporting it to station staff so they could get BTP involved.

susiedaisy Sat 06-Dec-14 12:48:49

Well done op you did the right thing by not provoking him there's no reasoning with drunk people. He was an utter fucking prat and everyone else who was in his group should be ashamed. Were they all policemen??

LegoAdventCalendar Sat 06-Dec-14 12:50:41

I would ring 101 and the railway customer service. I would contact his employer, too. Bet the friend is not a copper, either.

DealForTheKids Sat 06-Dec-14 12:52:10

I'm sorry you went through that.

In defence of the passengers - I live in a part of London where this does happen on occasion. I can honestly swear that when the victim just ignores and they get bored, it doesn't tend to escalate too far and calms down a bit. The only times I've seen when it kicks off are when the rest of the carriage start defending the victim and the intimidating thug feels closed in on. Those are the ones where I've sadly seen things get very out of hand. sad

I don't know the solution, it shouldn't be like this. Guards don't patrol the trains I'm thinking of, and BTP can't be at every station. As it is, when I've previously reported to station staff, I've been told they're barred from helping for their own safety and have to wait for BTP too.

Like I say, it shouldn't be like that, but it very sadly is.

flowers I hope you are recovering from your horrible experience. I would still report, because otherwise how will things change?

katsumama Sat 06-Dec-14 12:55:17

God you handled it REALLY well.

There is only one thing worse than an aggressive drunk and that's an aggressive apologising drunk under the misapprehension that they can step back onto the moral high ground with a few leering obnoxious over-zealous words and are just so affronted should you have the utter temerity to refuse to shake their greasy, beer-soaked paw. I mean, get over yourself, I'm being nice now!

I really hope this horrible situation fades quickly in your mind. I wouldn't report but if I could find out where he works and his name, I might send him a card outlining his vile behaviour. On a single, plasticised piece of paper so that the mailman can read it.

LegoAdventCalendar Sat 06-Dec-14 12:56:38

I would report it.

Moln Sat 06-Dec-14 13:02:07

Horrible situation. You sound like you handled it well, obviously that doesn't make it any less scary for you.

The fact that your phone was out of power also doesn't make the situation partly to blame on you either. Though I can image it made you feel more helpless and vulnerable to the situation, sometimes phones are simply out of power.

I think you should report it certainly, especially if you know where he works, depending on where he works (because some companies will take this seriously) you should contact his place of work or the station staff, I'd consider contacting the police station and asking why an office stood by and allowed a member of the public to be harassed verbally

JustSpeakSense Sat 06-Dec-14 13:05:50

I'm sorry you had to deal with that! I think you really handled it well!

Some people are such arseholes!

Personally, I would chalk it up to a bad experience and just move on (and not let this negative experience occupy any more of my time or head space).

DustInTheWind Sat 06-Dec-14 13:08:24

'The fact that your phone was out of power also doesn't make the situation partly to blame on you either. '

I never meant to give that impression, he was entirely to blame for the whole episode and you were the victim.

evelynj Sat 06-Dec-14 13:12:44

Awful situation & you handled it really well.

I understand the frustration at people on the train not speaking out. Would love some advice on what to do re that aspect-I realise that everyone is in shock but what can help so done speak out to become an ally? Would addressing the whole carriage with 'does anyone else on this train think I'm in the wrong here?' Type thing work?

I think you should try to find him & report him, or direct him & his friends to this thread. The only reason he apologised is because you had the skills to steer the situation to relieve the tension. If someone else had been there & was rightly pissed off at his antics & reacted differently, that wouldn't have been their fault & could have ended up in a very nasty way by the sounds of it.

Nobody has a right to be aggressive to someone else on public transport. Hope you're feeling better about it now

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 06-Dec-14 13:13:34

People are unbelievable. How dare they not intervene? You must have been really scared. Shame on them.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 06-Dec-14 13:14:35

I would report it too. His behaviour was completely unacceptable, and most trains have CCTV now.

Madamecastafiore Sat 06-Dec-14 13:17:18

If this happens again you tell them that you are very loudly going to pull the alarm that will stop the train and then everyone will be held up. You find people quickly backtrack or others will intervene when everyone is going to be inconvenienced.

LegoAdventCalendar Sat 06-Dec-14 13:34:01

He needs to learn this is not acceptable. Report to BTP, he will be on camera. I'd tell his employer.

anothernumberone Sat 06-Dec-14 13:40:28

I think it is over because there probably really is no where to take it to from here where the effort of you doing it won't outweigh the outcome you will achieve. You were amazing I have re read your post to try to take it in if something similar happens in the future. Well done.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 06-Dec-14 13:44:40

When police charge with assault and battery, the assault bit is the shouting at you. Report this arse!

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