My Experience on the Train Today

I heard that my train was going to be delayed this morning due to some police action at a station before mine. When I arrived at the train station people were talking about what had happened to cause the delay . Someone apparently jumped in front of a train at 5:00am at the Short Hills NJ station. As I was feeling so sad about it I was standing next to a group of people chatting about it. What caught my attention was hearing the reasons that people were so upset over this and it wasn’t just one person but a group in agreement. They were upset that it was going to make them late for work and they wondered why the person chose to jump during rush hour instead of a slower time (one person actually said “how inconsiderate”) and just what an inconvenience it was to their day. Immediately I thought about what a lack of compassion this exhibits and wondered how we have become so desensitized. There was a woman in the group looking at me like she wanted to say something and she look embarrassed so instead I said something. I didn’t want it to sound like a judgment because its not my place to judge anyone. They may have reasons behind their reactions that go deeper. So I proceeded to say exactly what I felt which was how sad it was that someone could be so distraught to make a decision to take their own life. She was silent and the others were close by and heard me and they became equally as silent. I also want to give people the benefit of the doubt since they may not have had the courage to say that they didn’t agree with such an overwhelming response from others but compassion has a domino affect just like a lack of compassion. The Dali Lama said that ” love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken especially right now in these difficult times. It could be that some of those people are concerned about losing their job that they so desperately need and being late does not look good. However if your boss is going to be upset because you are late due to someone jumping in front of your train, it may be time for a new boss.

I send peace and compassion to the person today who felt this was the only way out and peace to his/her family as well as all the people who reacted to the situation.



  1. Anonymous says:

    You handled it beautifully.

  2. Maria, How sad…so many people in our society have that “It’s all about me” mentality. They can’t see past the big picture & they only see how a situation affects them. I’m glad you spoke up. I know I would have too ! Talk to you soon !!! xoxo Kathy

  3. I wrote a college paper in 1981 about his same exact topic when someone jumped in front of a train down at Court Street train station, in front of an R train. The reaction was the same, people were worried about being late to their appointments. I wondered the same thing; ” a man just lost his life”, doesnt that matter…
    So we havent really changed much in the last 30 years, I am sorry to say… :/