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Woman Accuses Bus Driver of Making Inappropriate Comments

by ARLnow.com February 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm 2,082 57 Comments

An anonymous Arlington resident has alleged that she was sexually harassed by a chatty Metrobus driver.

The woman’s story was published on the Hollaback DC blog, which chronicles gender-based harassment in the Washington area. The woman said the driver’s suggestive comments about her height made her feel “paralyzed.”

“I was so mad, so pissed, I nearly cried,” she wrote.

The alleged incident took place during the evening rush hour on the 10B bus, which travels from Hunting Towers in Alexandria to the Ballston Metro station, via Shirlington and Buckingham.

Metro riders can submit complaints about employee conduct here.

  • steve

    This is what you get when you give these hollaback people attention in the prior article. Now you’re going to have these accusations made all the time “some man I thought was creepy dared look at me! harassment!”

    • mehoo

      Hey steve, are you in some competition to be the most despicable person on this forum or something? You’re winning.

      • steve

        And what you defend makes a mockery of actual harassment. its time for people to act like adults, and to separate themselves from the invertibrates and show they have a backbone instead of whining and crying over everything. Oh boo hoo, a man asked you for a date and he wasn’t super hot! Harassment!

        • mehoo

          I call that actual harassment.

          Ask you girlfriend (if you have one) or your mom or your sister if she would think so.

          It’s not exactly horrible, I agree, but it’s clearly inappropriate, and it’s hardly just “somebody looked at me.”

        • mehoo

          Steve,

          You either didn’t read the complaint or have a reading comprehension problem. Either way, it was more than just a suggestion for a date.

          Learn to base your opinions on complete facts.

          FYI My comment above was based on the assumption that you could read. Silly me.

          • Steve

            Allegations are undisputed facts?

          • mehoo

            Didn’t say that. But YOU said the allegations were laughable. Now that you actually know what they are, you’ve switched your tune to just doubting they happened at all.

            Maybe you’re not despicable, maybe you’re a lawyer for the bus driver, desperately trying to use any argument you can hang onto to get him out of trouble. Or maybe you’re both.

          • 22203

            I overheard someone at the bar at Four Courts say that Mehoo is really the Arlnow writer’s annonymous name – might explanin why Mehoo is never banned.

          • mehoo

            Or perhaps it’s because I’ve never said anything that justifies banning.

          • mehoo

            It’s cool that they’re talking about me at Four Courts though. I should stop by.

      • Do I get 2nd?

    • G

      Ha, I kind of agree with Steve on this one. It seems some women are oversensitive. It doesn’t change the fact that this bus driver acted unprofessionally…

  • borf

    I had to go read the blog to figure out how a comment about height could be sexually suggestive.

    • steve

      Apparently he said playing basketball would be a cheap date with her, and the suggestion of going on a date was unwanted, hence sexual harassment.

      What a joke.

      • mehoo

        No, genius, you didn’t read it far enough. He said “When we lying down we the same height anyway.” He was suggesting sex, not just a date.

        • South Arlington

          +1

        • steve

          So if someone says “taking it on the chin” do you shout sexual harassment also and file complaints?

          If someone uses the term “teabagger” should someone get offended and file a sexual harassment claim?

          How about some backbone?

          Oh wait, that would be too much to ask for for a liberal, who LIVES to be offended, whine and complain. Like children.

          • mehoo

            “Taking it on the chin” isn’t sexual. It refers to being punched.

            “Teabagger” – sure, make a complaint if you want, but the tea partiers are the ones who named themselves that before they figured out what it means.

            As for backbone – go ask your mother, sister, or girlfriend whether they think they should just endure being sexually harassed or not.

          • steve

            Again, you are presuming the events to have actually taken place.

            Here’s a video on the reality of sexual harassment.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBVuAGFcGKY

          • mehoo

            No I’m not assuming it’s been proven to have happened. But this thread is about the complaint.

            Why are you so obsessed with discrediting an alleged victim of sexual harassment?

  • V Dizzle

    Hard to imagine a paralyzing height related statement, but we do have to accommodate the most sensitive person in all cases. I’m just happy when the bus doesn’t run anyone over or crash into other vehicles. The inapproapriate hugs I get don’t bother me at all.

    • Ben

      Ehh I’d agree with you until I re-read it and picked this up:

      he opened the door and then said “You know what I was going to tell you earlier?” I shook my head and moved to get off the bus. He said “No come here, come here. I don’t want them to hear (gesturing to the rest of the passengers) I was going to say “When we lying down we the same height anyway.” And he laughed out loud.

      That is a little out of line and kinda creepy.

      • Kate

        Ewww

      • V Dizzle

        OK,that is a bit creepy in that context. eww

      • SouthArlJD

        Very creepy. This is a guy who doesn’t know where the line is drawn. Every woman on this site knows just how creeped out these comments made that woman feel. Disgusting.

      • No thx

        Agreed. The driver sounds way out of line and creepy. From the report, she isn’t being oversensitive and there’s no obvious reason why she’d make it up. Good for her for reporting misconduct.

        Like any employer, Metro needs to follow up on this stuff. The driver deserves a fair opportunity to present his side of the story. If he behaved inappropriately &/or unprofessionally, they need to address it. It may also be a good time for Metro to revisit expectations with other employees to minimize any gray area about acceptable behavior.

  • North Cherrydaler

    It’s worth reading the blog. I was about to dismiss the complaint as being overly sensitive, but his comments were pretty bad.

    • Chris

      Yep. Normally I feel bad for taking a harsh (imo realistic) stance on these things, but the comments in the linked blog were quite inappropriate, and it sounds like the driver knew it.

  • Lou

    Just another thing that is messed up at WMATA. And you wonder why people would rather drive.

    • borf

      Because car drivers in traffic are so polite and pleasant?

  • Bluemont John

    Most of the bus drivers are decent, hard-working folks. But there are some bad apples. I think part of the reason is that WMATA allows bus operators to have a prior felony, so long as it’s not in the recent past (I forget how recent). I wouldn’t think any felons should ever be put in a position of public trust like that. But then, there aren’t many people with a CDL who aren’t instead driving 18-wheelers and making more money doing so, without having to deal with passengers.

    • SouthArlJD

      You’re painting with a brush the size of one of those push-brooms here. First, there’s no showing that this guy has ANY kind of criminal record; second, what is it with the mentality of “let’s not employ felons”? Do you have any idea just how many damn felonies there are out there which people are being charged with every day? They’re not aliens from another planet. A lot of the time they’re people who’ve made a momentary stupid decision and gotten tripped up in some pretty harsh laws. In Virginia, with its zero tolerance policies, collecting felonies is as easy as collecting bottle caps. Possess a single pill of Ecstasy? That’s a felony. Shoplift a $250 jacket? That’s a felony. In a moment of teenage stupidity speed to elude the cops? Yep, another felony. In a fight with someone and happen to draw blood? Another potential felony. So should the guy who stupidly stole a jacket off a store rack 15 years ago and caught a felony be denied any significant employment for the rest of his life? How about the guy who was caught smoking crack 10 years ago and turned his life around and stopped using? Cocaine/crack/heroin/speed – all that stuff is felony, felony, felony. Don’t want a felony? Then stick to pot.

      I’m just saying the fact that someone has had charges or convictions in the past is no guarantee that they’re of low moral character now, any more than the lack of any charges in the past is a guarantee the person isn’t a lowlife, felonious scumbag. These judgments should be made on a case by case basis.

      • Bluemont John

        I’m all about second chances, even for some felons. But that doesn’t mean they need to be driving people around on a public bus. (Maybe I’d be open to some exceptions if the felony was non-violent and a really, really long time ago.)

        I don’t know if this particular driver has any criminal record–but harassment incidents like this, of which there have been several in the past few years, in my mind paint a picture of a good number of drivers engaging in behavior that is not tolerable. I’d be willing to bet that most of those drivers are the same ones who have criminal records.

        Also, are you *sure* that merely drawing any blood in a fight is a felony? I’ll take your word that you’re a lawyer, but it just seems like that couldn’t be the case.

      • borf

        “Don’t want a felony? Then stick to pot.”

        Will do!

  • Sam

    Whatever happened to just throwing a glass of water in someone’s face and saying “Well, I never!”

    • mehoo

      That went out of style when women stopped carrying glasses of water everywhere just in case they were insulted. It got to be a hassle.

    • steve

      Possibly because assault and battery are and should be treated more harshly than “offending” someone?

  • EmR

    Regardless of how much you feel the woman in this case was being overly sensitive (she wasn’t), it’s still street harassment and he’s still AT WORK. Comments like that have absolutely no place in anyone’s work place, or during their commute, bottom line.

    It’s not so unreasonable for women to expect they can get to and from work, picking up their kids, visiting a friend, etc. without their bodies being commented on by strange men. As soon as it occurs, women’s position in society (and in the workplace) is demeaned because it tells us that women aren’t really there to be taken seriously and to do a damn good job, but there for men’s visual (and implied physical) enjoyment. It’s dehumanizing, and it needs to stop.

    • Steve

      Ah, so a mere allegation = truth..

      So If I said you are a pedophile, should you be locked up, or should truth have to come into play?

      • mehoo

        Nobody said it was true. Nobody knows for sure. Including you.

        Why are you so hell-bent on taking the side of an alleged scumbag instead of an alleged victim, huh Steve?

        • Bluemont John

          Yeah–I wonder how Steve would feel if a bus driver made a salacious comment directed at HIM.

          • mehoo

            He’d love it! Not that Steve would ever be caught dead on a bus.

          • steve

            I take the bus all the time. Nice rush to judgment though. At least I didn’t make some allegation for all to see which may or MAY NOT be true, which COULD result in the punishment or termination of the employee even if it turns out to be untrue. But it would be funny if their Union took some actions against hollah back.

          • mehoo

            You’re all for the working man, and the principles of innocent until proven guilty, aren’t you Steve?

          • steve

            Innocent until proven guilty only means that the burden of proof is with the prosecution to prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Nothing more.

          • steve

            Oh boo hoo, it must be so rough being you. Do you have ANy idea what bus drivers go through on a daily basis? Passengers committing crimes, passengers refusing to pay, passengers being intoxicated and causing havoc. They risk their lives to do that job, being on the road all the time, and having to deal with customers, some of which can be very unpleasant and violent and engaged in illegal activities.

          • mehoo

            I’m sure you care deeply about bus drivers, Steve.

          • steve

            Not everyone here is a d-bag like you who feigns to care about people other than themselves. I know the snobs here in Arlington, the ones who feign to support blue collared people, yet wouldn’t get caught dead associating with them. Champagne socialists, typical DC area snobs that the snobby bars here in Arlington cater to. Oh look! You are acting all blue collar by ordering that PBR! yay!

          • mehoo

            You don’t know a damn thing about me or what I think or what I care about, Steve. You just assume. That’s your problem in life.

            But PBR sucks. You got me there.

          • steve

            Funy meehoo, you made a presumption about me. Then you then ask how I dare make a presumption about you?

            nice double standard.

          • mehoo

            I didn’t presume anything about you, steve. My comments are based on what you’ve said here.

            You’re busy telling me not only what kind of beer I drink, but WHY.

  • John Andre

    Another reason why I prefer ART over Metrobus whenever possible. Most ART operators would never think of doing any such thing.

    In general Metrobus operators are sometimes more rude than their counterparts at ART and the other regional lines. It doesn’t happen too often but when it does, it tends to happen on Metro. This may be due to pressure–Metro keeps increasing fares for deteriorating service [the recent move to stop the weekend trains after midnight is a case in point].

    • CrystalMikey

      ART drivers aren’t coming from the Metro pool?

      • local

        No. ART is not Metro. ART is run by Arlington County. I think it’s contracted out to a private bus company.

        • Bluemont John

          Yup–Veolia.

  • Dizzy

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least. I once had a rather “interesting” conversation with a driver on the 3B in which he referred to Condoleeza Rice as a lesbian and suggested that she needed a real man to “fix her right.”

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