Here’s a guest post from Jim.
I was on my way back down town from a meeting. I got on the Red Line at Roosevelt station. The north bound Red Line pulls up and doors open. The announcement drones: “This train is temporally stopped because the operator is off the train.”
The motorman walks four cars down and ask this guy to step off the train. As a regular Red Line rider I recognize the guy. He is a tall African American guy with sunglasses, a white cup and a blind man’s cane. He is regular law breaker, always working the Red Line going from train to train panhandling.
After he is off the train, it goes on, but with the announcement that panhandling on CTA trains is illegal. I get off at Lake to head to work. Forty minutes later I am back on the Red Line heading north.
After the Chicago Avenue stop, I hear “It is illegal to panhandle on the CTA” over the PA system of the train. At Clark and Division the train stops, again with the announcement that the operator is off the train.
It is the same blind panhandler from 40 minutes ago. When he tries to get away by boarding the southbound train on the other side of the platform, the motorwoman holds up her arms and states, “I have called the supervisor and the CTA transit police units, and you’re not going anywhere!”
With that, the blind law breaker swings his cane like a samurai sword to hit the motorman, but misses.
Almost from nowhere, a woman in a long white T-shirt and very dirty jeans, who acts if she in partnership with this flim-flammer, gets hold of the cane-swinging blind panhandler and helps him up the stairs for a quick getaway.
The motorwoman waits to see if the police or supervisor are coming to the rescue. After five minutes of waiting she get back on the train and heads north again.