Man throws bleach on Muni passengers

Photo by Brett L.

The other day, Kelsey tweeted @munidiaries looking for some answers:

My roommates got bleach thrown on them the other night on the 14. Anyone see anything?

Um, what? To that query, she provided the sordid details below:

She was on her way home with some friends on the 14 on Friday night after the bars closed in the Mission, and back on her way to downtown where we live. I guess there was a man (unsure if it was a transient or not) sitting in the front of the bus, staring oddly at my roommate and her friends. She is not one to just brush it off, and is definitely one to speak her mind. So she did, and called him out, asking why he was staring and told him to stop. He proceeded to throw a Ritz cracker at them (oooh! scary!), and then they lashed back at him some more.

He then held up a water bottle with a clear liquid in it and said, “Do you know what’s in this bottle, girl? Do you know?” or something along those lines, and then after guessing it was rubbing alcohol, he proceeded to splash all three girls with the contents, which they immediately discovered was bleach as soon as it started dying their jackets and leggings/pants that it got on. According to her, just as this happened, the bus came to a stop and the man ran off of the bus. Around 8th and Mission, the driver made everyone get off and had to report the incident, but my roommate and friends went home instead of sticking around.


So, as always, be careful out there. As a lady who’s been in uncomfortable transit situations time and time again: I say Kelsey’s roommate had every right to be left alone on the bus. I’ve gotten angry more times than I could count over similar issues, and I’ve had my long-suffering husband advise repeatedly to hold my tongue and be the bigger person…because it could mean being the bigger, alive person. So, do we all just stay quiet and assume everyone is carrying bleach (or worse)? What do you do when you feel threatened or angry on the bus? Sound off in the comments.


  • As long as transit is public, there will be bad guys on the bus. If they stare or make trash comments, the best strategy is to ignore them — no response. If an actual attack seems imminent, tell the driver to stop the bus and summon the police. If the bad guy runs away, that’s fine.

  • Ken

    “the driver made everyone get off and had to report the incident, but my roommate and friends went home instead of sticking around”

    The next article will undoubtably be something about how something happened on Muni, and the driver just continued on like nothing happened, not even bothering to stop and take a report.

    Also, not that it justifies the behavior, but I wonder what “lashed back at him some more” means exactly.

  • It was all verbal, nothing physical from my roommate, but obviously she should have just kept her mouth shut. But sometimes ya just gotta say something. I doubt she ever expected there to be bleach in the bottle.
    Obviously the entire situation could have been handled differently. But at least now I know that if I ever see someone suspicious with what seems to be a water bottle in their hand, to always second guess it.

  • fermata

    actually, no, you DON’T gotta say something to a crazy-looking dude who’s eying you in an uncomfortable way. Perhaps alcohol had given the girls a false sense of bravado. But if you’re going to live in SF and ride Muni, best not to engage with the deviants. It’s just common sense. And maybe consider taking a cab late at night.

  • D.

    No undercover or uniformed officers around as usual. And I’ll bet the on board cameras weren’t working.

    So typical of MUNI.

  • RLM Stonebody

    I can hear those girls screeching now. I love it when ghetto girls and crazies unite on muni. Great entertainment. Hope no one was hurt.

  • Was this an African-American man? Looks like he in is in his 30’s?

    A guy sat next to me on Muni one day and was going on about how he kept a squirt bottle full of bleach on him at all times “in case someone wants to go off on him”.

  • Susan

    So they didn’t bother to stick around to help the driver do the report? Sounds like maybe the other side of the story is not as “victim” as she writes? No one should have ANYTHING thrown on them on Muni…but if they won’t work with the driver to do the report, what will the driver do next time?

  • Mike

    Your friend is the one who escalated the situation. She should have kept her mouth shut, and it wouldn’t have happened.

    • You’re exactly right. I never said she wasn’t a part of the escalation.

    • Probably true, but that doesn’t change the fact that what this guy is a serious felony. From my lawyer friend, after he read this post: “Yes. It’s an assault and battery, and maybe also an Assault with Caustic Chemicals under Cal. Pen. Code Sec. 244.” No amount of verbal back-and-forthing warranted what the guy did.

      • Mike

        Agreed, and agreed. He committed a crime and shouldn’t have done what he did. The fact remains if your friend had exercised some restraint, nothing would have come of it. No clothes ruined, no story to write about, maybe just an anecdote you and your friends could have talked about down the road. “hey remember that creepy guy that stared at you?”

        Think before you act.

      • Susan

        but they needed to stick around to do the report with the driver…. no report = no tracking of the incident.

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