Woman Abused by Teen on the J
Note: See our update from an alleged witness who told SFist that the teen was provoked. Thank you, SFist, for spreading the word and reporting this story.
This shocking letter from the Noe Valley Voice (via reader Randy) had us thinking, “Has it really come to this?” The Muni incident began when a 60-year-old woman asked a teenage girl not to take up three seats on a packed J-Church train headed toward Mission High School. When the teenager refused after being asked repeatedly, things turned ugly. The woman recounts the incident to the Voice:
I very politely asked her if she would move her bag so two people could sit down. She said, “No.” I asked her again and she told me, “F- -k off.” I asked her a third time and told her that I would remove her bag if she didn’t do it herself. I reminded her that this was public transportation and that everyone on the streetcar had paid the same fare to enter and that she didn’t have the right to take three seats. I reminded her that these seats were reserved for seniors and people with disabilities. She told me to “f- -k off” again. I reached down to move her bag and when I did so, she stood up and very forcefully slapped me in the face, knocking off my glasses. I’m 60 years old and the surprise and force of her slap knocked me down. She then proceeded to curse at me, calling me a “f- -king bitch” and several other things.
As if that weren’t enough, the abuse allegedly continued until the teenager got off the streetcar at Church and 18th Street. You can read the rest of the incident in her letter here in Voice‘s May Letters to the Editor (scroll down to “Incident on Muni”).
The woman reported the incident to Muni but was told that nothing can be done if she could not identify the student. In her letter, she asked, “why aren’t there Muni guards riding on the J-Church line?”
“My feeling is that Muni is responsible to ensure that their paying passengers, especially seniors, are safe from harassment and physical violence while on public transportation,” she wrote.
Whether Muni is responsible for their passenger’s safety is one thing, but when teenagers feel free to use physical violence against an older person, it feels like we’re all responsible for this somehow.