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On the Metra

August 13, 2017

I got on the train by myself to go from Joliet to Chicago. The Metra train cars are cool – regular double bench seats down below and a second story of single seats along the edges, with an opening over the aisle so you can see the first floor. Of course I had to sit up top!

Two teen boys got on the train, sat down below, and flipped the train seats so they could put their feet and bags on the seats across from them.

The conductor, a man about 6’3″ with an imposing beard, walked through.

“Feet off the seats, boys,” he commanded. There were signs, too.

The boys took their feet off the seats and put them back up as soon as the conductor left the car.

He reappeared about 30 seconds later.

“How many tickets did you buy?” he asked them.

“We bought tickets,” they said.

“How many? Because if you want a seat and your feet want a seat, you had better have four tickets. If your bags want a seat, that is six tickets.”

“Why can’t we put our feet on the seats?”

“I just came through and told you to keep your feet off the seats and you put them right back up. There are signs that tell you not to. But you ignored them.”

“The train isn’t even full.”

“I don’t care if the train is full. I care about the safety and convenience of the customers.”

“We’re customers. We bought tickets.”

“You bought tickets? Or your parents bought your tickets? Do you have a job? Do you live under your own roof? I think your parents would agree with me. Now keep your feet off the seats.”

They took their feet off the seats. And I took the opportunity to give him a thumbs-up from my perch upstairs.

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