Today, I was on the same Metro rail car as an injured passenger. I was right there before, during, and after the incident; just a few feet away, and yet I couldn’t tell you what actually happened. I had no idea what had happened, but whatever did occur, had disrupted an otherwise mundane metro rail ride.
It started when I boarded a Yellow Line train from Chinatown in the direction of Huntington, just like every other morning commute into work. The train had just arrived at the platform and I hurried on board before I heard the chime and announcement saying the doors would close. I stepped aboard the train, into the middle of the car, and soon thereafter, I heard a disturbingly loud, thump, coming from the end of the car. All I could see was that there were a few people who were helping to drag a passenger on board.
I looked over to where the noise had come from, but there were too many people standing up to block my view. After some people had shuffled about, I was able to see two men. One man was opening a suitcase to retrieve something. It looked like he was fishing around for some tissues. I could see another man, older (in his 70s?) who was kneeling on the floor, so I assumed he had been injured. A few minutes passed and we heard the inevitable announcement that there was an injured passenger on board and that it would be a few minutes.
I wasn’t really able to see much else until we were instructed to disembark the car we were on. When that happened I saw a Metro employee help an older woman off from the ground where she seemed to be lying. I couldn’t quite see what had happened to her, but it looked like she was grasping a bloodied tissue in her right hand. As she cautiously got to her feet I could see a trail of splattered blood on the floor of the car, stemming from the doors where she had come from.
The injured passenger seemed to be ok and responding, but what had disturbed me the most was that I had no idea what had happened. I kept piecing together all of my facts: a loud thump, someone being dragged aboard, and a splattering of blood. Of course nobody really said anything about what had happened, so I was left clueless. The only thing I could have thought of, was that maybe the woman had tripped as she attempted to board the train, and fell hard on the train car door opening, thus projecting the blood forward into the car.
I feel bad that a seemingly everyday Metro ride was disrupted by this unfortunate injury. I don’t know what became of the injured passenger, but I hope she’s doing ok. While this fortunately was that the fault of the Metro, it sure doesn’t help the image it portrays to its riders. No wonder so many people are afraid of the D.C. Metro.