Don’t Stand So Close To Me

Today, I was travelling from Vancouver to the SFU Surrey campus. This incident began at the Waterfront station.

I had just got onto the expo line train to king George at around 1pm, and it just so happened that the car I entered was completely empty. I was carrying a big heavy black bag, as well as a bulky camera bag and a tripod, also in a bag. I was headed towards the end of the car to a two seater (so that I would not be in the way of travellers who would later board). However, just as I was about to put my 3 big bags down, a man who looked to be around 50-60 years old, with a big white beard, big turban on, and dark sunglasses came up almost immediately behind me, and this action just made me highly suspicious as to why he wants to sit in my immediately vicinity in an empty train.

I Immediately turned around and headed to the centre of the train, upon which he asked, “aren’t you going to sit down?” And I pretty much politely said no and say right in the middle of the middle row, making sure I had him in my sights. I then took out my phone and called my boyfriend and told him loudly that I didn’t feel safe, and continued talking to him until the train eventually filled up with other passengers. He and I both remained until I almost reached my destination. I got off early and phoned a friend to meet me and then continued the journey.

Did I overreact?
I found it extremely odd and also uncomfortable when he was about to sit next to me in an empty train. Fyi I am also a pretty petite, Chinese girl. I have simply heard so many stories about girls and women being taken advantage of – molested, groped, etc. and I also had no interest in talking to anyone, being quite tired from having to lug such a heavy load around. Better safe than sorry?

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One thought on “Don’t Stand So Close To Me

  1. You need to enter the text and phone number for TransLink Police in your phone. Also, I would have changed cars, even though you had a lot of gear at the very next station. Once called on the security phone on the SkyTrain car because a woman was going around the car harassing and begging from others; so I called on the red phone. There were both Police and SkyTrain attendants at the very next station.
    You need to report: Name of train or station you last left, the direction too. That way they can anticipate times for stations ahead and get there in the right amount of time. The # of the train or car is on either side of the car. (Have a look around the next time you are travelling and make it a regular thing to look at it and memorize the #.
    The numbers you need are:
    Text: 87-77-77
    Non-emergency: 604-515-8300
    Emergency: 911

    Also, talk to a few TransLink officers if you see them one day and talk to them about strategies they would advise anyone travelling alone. Okay?

    Hope this helps. Anything that ‘bothers’ you on a trip know that nothing should and you have every right to complain. Unless these folks are stopped, they keep getting away with inappropriate behaviour.

    Take care.

    From a former nurse who has some pals who are Vancouver Police and have given me a lot of information years ago about being safe as I travelled both in Transit and also by car, given I worked a lot of shifts and had to walk through parking lots in city hospitals for many years. Needed to be safe.

    The most important thing is to always be alert. Take those ear buds out of your ears and read a book instead. You need to be able to hear everything around you too. Okay?

    Pass along my suggestions to your friends too.

    I wish you safe journeys in the future.

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