What would you do?

I am a student here at PSU just like you and I would like to know what you would have done?

Yesterday Feb. 13, I took MAX into PSU and returned from PSU, just like I do 2x per week. But this trip, I encountered a very uncomfortable situation on MAX that could have ended up with violence, or at the least, a very tense moment which would have left me and some other passengers in varying states of trauma.

On my trip into PSU, around 3:45, Max stopped at the 82nd street depot and picked up some people. Three of these were youths- probably 16-19 years of age, male. But these three were very loud…I mean they were shouting well above the normal din of a busy MAX commute. One chose to run up and down the car, jump up and grasp the stainless poles and swing around. His friends would cheer him on. At first I just ignored this rowdy behavior. But…it did not stop. When, like me, most people were ignoring this rude behavior the youth escalated his behavior. This signaled a change to me. This young man, encouraged on by his two peers, began to try and provoke a response from the rest of us. He began to make “charges” at some people, as if he was going to purposely make contact with people. I looked around and some of the passengers were now worried…you could see it in their faces. I was sitting next to a window and had a young lady sitting beside me. She was becoming upset. I decided to do something. I made an effort and caught the eye of one of the young people who was cheering on his physical friend. He was maybe five feet away. Our eyes met. I was not smiling. At first he looked seriously at me and then he did something I did not expect. He laughed. He laughed right at me. I felt the blood rush to my face. I felt my fingers curl into tight fists. I began to feel my legs move…but then I stopped. Was this action I was about to take going to solve anything? Instead of helping, protecting the others around me, could I actually be escalating this (now) dangerous situation? Luckily I did not have to contemplate those questions very long for we were pulling into the Lloyd Center depot and the youths made their departure.

When those three young men left the MAX car you could almost feel the sense of relief that blew through our section of MAX. Whew! But I was shaking. Really physically shaking. Not from fear but from anger and adrenaline. The young lady who sat beside me softly put her hand upon mine and just smiled up at me. And I felt better.