Thursday, June 7, 2007

apparently Metro thinks "Customer Service" is an oxymoron

I love when you peeps comment on my blog. I really do. I can’t tell you how many times light bulbs have turned on in my head after reading what you have to say. And for all of those epiphanies and changes in perspective, I thank you! And for all of you lurkers who don’t comment, it’s quite alright. I have much love for you too!

A while back I wrote a series of posts about the Metro bus driver who hit on me (you can read them here, here, and finally, here). The whole thing made me feel incredibly uncomfortable (and icky). I suspected that my bus driver was using his route as a dating service because I always saw him flirting with girls (this one girl (aka Flirty Girl) actually stands up near the driver and talks to him the whole ride). In one of my posts about bus driver, one of you insightful readers left me the following comment: (among other bits of wisdom…) ” if it's really making you feel uncomfortable and he's still pulling crap like that on duty, I'd report him.”

I thought about that comment for a long time. I ended up rejecting the bus driver, telling him the truth about how I have a boyfriend and all. But something still didn’t sit well with me. And I realized where that feeling was coming from when I rode the bus with that driver last week. There was a new Flirty Girl. She too stood up next to him as he drove, talking to him about whatever, even twisting her hair around her fingers (how cliché). I don’t need to be convinced that this bus driver is using his route as a dating service. But I didn’t realize just how many other girls he’s trying to get with. And maybe, out of the countless other girls he’s hit on, there’s another girl who is just like me (as in, very not interested), whose normally routine bus route has now become incredibly uncomfortable.

Sure my problem is solved. But what about that other hypothetical girl? What if there is more than one other girl who feels that way? A young, impressionable girl who is too afraid to stand up for herself? Once I started thinking outside of my own little bubble, I realized that perhaps I have an obligation to do something about that bus driver. Maybe if I complained to Metro, they will do something about it—like reprimand him, or change his route, or take him off of bus routes all together.

Turns out another blogger had a similar experience to mine (on Metro) and did something about it. I asked her to please keep me updated. I wanted to see if something would actually be done about her situation. Honestly, I didn’t have much hope. But I really did want to believe that Metro would do the right thing, whatever that was.

Unfortunately, my fellow victim was given the run around by Metro. For WEEKS, she was tossed around from one Metro representative to the next. And, despite her detailed description, they couldn’t identify the culprit. A month later, all she has received is an apology.

I thought this story would convince me not to act. Clearly, Metro doesn’t know how to handle customer complaints. But if anything, her experience has convinced me to do something about my situation. So, I will complain to Metro and I will keep you posted on what happens (and Metro, if you happen to be reading, I will be giving details about who I talk to and whether or not something was done).

And I want more than an apology. “Sorry” is just not going to be good enough.

And to the blogger who shared her story with me, thank you for pushing me to act.


sunchaser said...

I hate to say this, but I wouldn't hold my breath on a response. :(

You're a better person than me, because I probably wouldn't pursue it any further. It almost seems like it's more trouble than it's worth, based on the other woman's experience.

nicky said...

i think it's great that you're still going to report it even if you don't get a response. It's unfortunate th at many people don't report things (such as sexual assualt, rape, etc.) because they think that it's more trouble than it's worth. This creates a terrible situation for a person who finally decides to report it because people believe it was just an isolated incident and not part of a larger problem. The more people who report things, the harder it is for those in charge to not believe that it is a problem.

so kudos for helping create awareness about the issue for the rest of us.

Shell said...

awww, sad. Sure, he may be using it for a dating service, but it sounds like these girls are just as interested in him. They are standing on a bus afterall, and twirling their hair. This can't be that easy of a job to get and think of some of the reprucssions. But trust me, I side with you dear, I hate getting hit on by creepy randoms that should know better. Either way, you are a smart girl, and will do the right thing :)

lizzie said...

sunchaser--i know. i'm not expecting results. but i want to believe that someone at metro will do something.

nicky--thank you. even tho my problem has been solved (the bus driver has been nothing but pleasant with me ever since), i still feel obligated to report this. who knows how many other people he might have hit on, making them uncomfortable too? perhaps if metro gets enough of these complaints, they will finally do something. let's hope!

shell--thanks shell. as always, great insight. there's always another side to every story and certainly the bus driver has his side. still, i'm not sure if the bus driver should be flirting while driving anyways. there is a sign above his head that specifically says, "don't talk to the driver. i need my full attention to operate this bus." clearly, if he's too busy flirting or checking girls out in his rear view mirror (yes, i saw him checking me out numerous times), he's not paying attention to the road. and with all the bad press metro has been getting with all of these bus drivers hitting pedestrians, it is not in anyone's best interest that he is flirting with the passengers.

thanks for the support, hun. luv ya!

Golden Silence said...

Liz, I don't need to be anonymous anymore...I posted the situation on "Don't Be Silent," along with your ordeal.

I wish someone would punish Metro employees for their inappropriate actions!

The Infamous Vinnie Gangbox said...

I happen to be a union shop steward, and I know from my sexual harassment prevention training that sexual harassment is UNWANTED sexual contact.

If those women passengers wern't bothered by him flirting with them (and, judging by your descriptions of their behavior, they were quite plainly not bothered) why does it bother you?

Maybe you have a problem with Black men publicly displaying their sexuality - in which case, perhaps you should leave DC and move to a much Whiter community!

And, I'm appalled by your attemt to get this man fired from his job for the "crime" of trying to find a woman while he's at work!!

He's just doing what men have to do to get a woman - approaching as many women as possible until he finds one that's interested in him!

Now, perhaps if we lived in an egalitarian society, where it was socially acceptable for women women to approach men that they found sexually attractive, then it might be wrong for him to do that.

But, we don't.

As you know, we live in a sexist partriarchal society, and one manifestation of that is the fact that men have to make the first move in any sexually related social encounter with a woman.

Guys know that if they don't make the first move, they will never get a woman (most of us learned that cold harsh lesson in middle school) - and, conversely, men who make moves on lots of women are going to be rewarded with a lot of success with women.

That's all this guy's doing - please don't try and get him fired for the "crime" of behaving according to the male socialization he's been taught his entire life.


lizzie said... many things that are wrong with this comment that i don't know where to begin. because this post has been linked to on another blog, i reluctantly dignify your comment with a response:

first off, i was a victim of his unwanted advances. or perhaps in your anger, you missed that part and the other three posts about this 'harassment.'

second, i am doing this because i suspect that there are other girls in my shoes. i'm not doing this for the girls who like the attention. the only thing that bothers me about them is that they are distracting him while he should be paying attention to the road because (after all) he's a bus driver and the safety of his passengers should be his first concern.

third, this didn't happen in DC, this happened in VA. also, i'm not white as you assume. i'm MEXICAN. i couldn't care less about moving to a whiter community. i'll take my diverse little neighborhood in arlington any day, thank you. AND my boyfriend who i've been committed to for 3 years is BLACK. i'm all for his displaying his sexuality (in the comfort of our home, of course).

also, why is it a man's right to publicly display their sexuality? i can't speak for all women, but i would imagine that most of us would appreciate it if men in general wouldn't harass us in public. if you call that 'displaying your sexuality' well then so be it. but legally, the term is 'harassment' and not only is it inappropriate, in some circumstances, it's a crime.

you said, "And, I'm appalled by your attemt to get this man fired from his job for the "crime" of trying to find a woman while he's at work!!" well, first off, i DON'T want him to get fired. but i DO want him to be reprimanded or written up or whatever WMATA does to correct unprofessional behavior in the workplace. the fact of the matter is, THE BUS DRIVER IS AT WORK. he is driving a metro bus full of people trying to get to work in the morning. paying careful attention to the road should be his priority, especially in a high traffic area like my route. he should be focusing on his job, not trying to find some chick to hook up with over the weekend.

and finally, i don't know what society you live in, but in mine, it's perfectly acceptable for a girl to go up to a guy. yes, some girls are shy and others are not. back when i was single, i had approached guys i liked and have been approached.

we may live in a sexist society, but that doesn't mean it's right. nor is it right to continue to perpetuate the sexism. there are plenty of opportunities for a man to make a move on a woman. there are inappropriate opportunities and there are appropriate ones. the bus driver hitting on girls while driving--that's an inappropropriate opportunity. if he's doing it at a bar, fine. if he's doing it at a party, go ahead. but at work? nope. sorry.