The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is very unhappy with the man you see above, a station agent at West 4th Street who apparently reacts to the frustrations of his job with exuberant double-fingered salutes.
Manhattanite Jonathan Pillot shared a video of the agent to his Facebook page; it shows Pillot and the agent, who the New York Post reports is named Stephen C. Herbert, mid-argument, after Pillot says he witnessed the agent behaving rudely towards an elderly woman.
On Facebook, Pillot wrote:
The woman before me at the subway booth on West 4th (she was in her 80’s, probably),was treated soooooo disrespectfully by this man. She got so fed up that as she left out of frustration (and not getting what she wanted), she called him an idiot. He started screaming at her that she was an idiot. When I stepped up to put $10 on MetroCard, I told him that as a city employee he could not talk to customers that way. He started screaming at me, so I turned on my camera. This is what I got (quite an initial image, yes??!!). He refused to put money on my Card, and the guy behind me had to get my card refilled for me.
The Post appears to be correct with their I.D.; the MTA’s payrolls list a Stephen C. Herbert as a station agent who came on the job in 2008; in 2012, he made $28 an hour. Six-ish years in a glass aquarium dealing with the adoring, transit-riding public may explain why Herbert also calls Pillot a “damn fool,” accuses the other man of cursing at him, and shouts, “Don’t try to play innocent now!”
Here’s the video via ABC7:
Upon seeing the exchange, the MTA responded quickly via Twitter:
@WeHateTheMTA This is obviously unacceptable behavior. We will identify this employee and take the appropriate action.
— MTA (@MTA) February 11, 2014
MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg confirmed that last night:
— Adam Lisberg (@adamlisberg) February 11, 2014
This morning, Pillot posted an update, writing, “Thank you for the beautiful feedback and reinforcement for what I did, which simply seemed the right thing to do as a Citizen of the World. I am sharing the video I took yesterday MOMENTS after the other video. I would have not captured this, or experienced it, without the other. Ahhh, the continuum of life.”
The other video shows cheery musicians singing and dancing on the train. It’s, um, not going to get quite as much attention as Double Middle Finger Salute guy.