Roger E/Flickr

It’s Monday morning after an already rough and rash commute. I was violated by an individual who alleged to be a WMATA Board member. Envision being crowded into a car, then fighting that crowd to get back off the car after one stop. I then fought the crowd again to get to the first escalator, and left the exit gates without incident as I usually do. I showed my badge to the station manager, adding my cheerful greeting. And as I rode up the final escalator, this little fellow in a $1000 suit approached me and announced at the top of his voice, “We pay to ride Metrorail. I saw you walk through that gate without paying!!!! It’s not fair that you try to ride for free.”

Like a dummy or (Fill in) slave-minded child of the sixties, I showed him my badge. As if he had a right to approve or validate my exit. He proclaimed his Board membership, like that was his license to demonstrate me. Pause – Wait a minute. He said what? To whom? At that point, I didn’t care if he was the ghost or (fill in…) . I gave him both barrels!!!!

I told him it was “contempt” without investigation: “If you had observed my actions before you shot off your big mouth, insulting and ridiculing me, you would have known that I had asked the station manager how she was as I flashed my ID.” I told this man that I’m disabled and mobility-impaired, not having a happy day, and didn’t need his racism first thing Monday morning! Because if I was white, he wouldn’t have done that.

Then he said, “I’m sorry.”

He didn’t apologize. I called him on it. I told off this self-appointed authority on fair ridership and WMATA policy. I don’t need you to tell me you’re sorry. I can see that you are sorry. Your mouth shows that you are sorry. I want you to admit that you are wrong! However, by now the damage was done. The people that heard his disrespectful words were gone. As a vendor, my credibility is paramount to my family’s survival. What I need from this guy is contrition and a means of reparation .