The work life of an operator for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority should be fairly relaxed. The most important thing to think about is that they are on a tight schedule working to get commuters from point A to point B in one piece and on time. It should be known that since the operators’ main concern is passengers schedule, they often have an average of 20 minutes to themselves to eat and get to the next access point. Though it is against the rules to eat on the train, sometimes it’s the best and only option when you think about sanitation, bugs or rodents, and the lack of break rooms along the way.
This past week upcoming author Natasha Tynes, who has a substantial Twitter following, put a WMATA worker on blast about eating on the train. In a tweet she wrote “When you’re on the train and see a WMATA employee in UNIFORM eating on the train. I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope WMATA responds. When I asked the employee this her response was ‘worry about yourself’ @unsuckdcmetro.” The tweet has since been deleted, but not before going viral for her comments.
Of course the internet responded in all sorts of ways. People were upset that Tynes would put this woman’s employment at stake by alerting her employer in such an unprofessional manner about something seemingly insignificant. People went on to say that this is another example of racism and the continued scrutinizing of a black woman is completely unfair. Then there is the other side of the argument that is saying Twitter has bullied this author for alerting the Metro about a breach in the rules. Tynes is an Arab American, and her defenders even went as far to say that the author was “digitally lynched” on Twitter.
The WMATA has responded to the incident. A spokesperson for the Metro Workers Union, Barry Hobson, assured the public that the bus operator would not face any action for eating on the train. “Speaking generally, this kind of incident wouldn’t be expected to result in more than counseling for a first offense.”
On the other hand, Tynes could potentially lose her book deal over the tweet. The publishing house Rare Bird, who was set to distribute her book, tweeted out that Tynes had done something truly horrible by tweeting a photo to the woman’s employer. “We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who think it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way.” Rare Bird wrote in a Twitter post. Tynes publisher also tweeted out that they would be halting shipment of her book.
Hobson said that the Metro employee hasn’t expressed any sentiments towards the author, according to Buzzfeed News. This story just goes to show the sometimes consequences of impulsively using social media to expose behavior they deem inappropriate.
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