In Bad Conduct

| The Netherlands | Working | February 28, 2014

(My boyfriend and I are on the train. Two seats behind us is a woman with a well-trained dog beside her. We are sitting in a silence area where, except for the occasional whispers, it is really quiet. The conductor walks in.)

Conductor: *loudly and strict* “This is a silence area! Is there anyone who wishes to make use of this area?”

(No one really knows what to think of this question, and we remain silent.)

Conductor: “Everybody, be silent! I don’t want to hear ANY talking in here!”

(He keeps shouting as if everyone is making a huge racket. Then he proceeds to check the tickets, starting with the woman with the dog.)

Conductor: *in a condescending tone* “I see you are heading to [destination]. You have to transfer at [station]!”

Woman: “I know that, but I’m traveling via [other station] where this train is heading to, right? Besides, you don’t have to talk down to me like that. I know very well how to travel on a train, thank you.”

Conductor: “Yes, but I am obliged to tell you where you should travel!”

Woman: “Again, I know very well where I’m going. Why do you care, anyway?”

Conductor: “And what of that dog? Does HE have a ticket?”

Woman: “Yes. In fact, you’re holding it in your hand at this very moment.”

(The conductor huffs, walks away, and checks everybody else’s tickets. Some time later, the train becomes quite crowded, and the woman with the dog asks some people who are forced to stand if they want to take the dog’s seat as the dog can sit on the ground. At that point, the conductor comes back and offers them first class seats, which they take. Then he comes over to the woman with the dog again.)

Conductor: “That dog is supposed to be on the ground! People want to sit there!”

Woman: “Before you came along I asked those people if they wanted to sit there and they were okay with standing. If it gets crowded, of course I will put him on the ground. But I paid his ticket so he earns this seat. He’s even sitting on my coat, so no mess is made.”

Conductor: “Ma’am, you have to remove that dog from the seat!”

Woman: “I’ve been traveling on this train for 40 years with dogs, and never was I asked to remove him from a seat! I’ve been traveling with dogs on trains since before you were born! First you are bothering me with the stations I should or should not go to, and now this! Really, sir, you chose the wrong job. You should be running a cruise ship or something, not an ordinary train. And now I want to file a complaint because you are annoying me. So I want to have your name, please.”

Conductor: “You can’t have my name! And that dog supposed to be on the GROUND!”

Woman: “As long as I don’t get your name, that dog doesn’t move an inch!”

Conductor: “Sure. The name is ‘007.’ Now get that dog off there, or I’ll remove you from this train!”

Woman: “Sure! Go ahead! I can transfer to another train there anyway. I’m going to file a complaint, whether you like it or not, with or without a name. Never in my life have I been treated this way by a conductor!”

(The conductor walks away again. I turn to the woman, telling her she has the full right to know his name. As we reach our stop, we get out after wishing her good luck. She didn’t come out with us, and what do you know… Mister ‘007’ did nothing about it!)

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