On the EL Train, Chicago

watercolor by A. Celander, 2015

Greetings Metta friends!

I just wanted to share a “nonviolent moment” from my hometown of Chicago yesterday.

Nonviolence ideas inspired by Metta have helped me peacefully stop 3 physical fights in public places of Chicago in recent years. Yet this latest incident was especially uplifting. Though verbal rather than physical, it had a great moment of reconciliation.  

It occurred on the Green Line EL train in Chicago. A young woman and young man started verbally abusing each other in a train car. She accused him of eyeing her, and he returned insults. I was nearby, ready to interpose if things got physical. They continued verbal abuse for 15 minutes, calling each other “ugly,” “stupid,” “racist,” and threatening physical harm. They took pictures of each other while continuing insults. Passengers said nothing, shook their heads, or chuckled to each other. I was unsure what to say, so as not to escalate things.  

An older woman entered the train car, and asked the young woman to quiet down. The young woman said it was the young man’s problem. The older woman said, “You’re worse.”  

Finally the young woman prepared to exit. I told her, “I hope you have a better day.” She said in agitation, “I will have a good day. I always have a good day.” We made eye contact. I said quietly, “Respect comes from within. No matter what others do.” She was quiet.  

I went and sat by the young man. I said quietly, “Respect for you too. I don’t know, she felt disrespected.” (He and I had exchanged greetings before boarding the train.) He was quiet.  

Incredibly, the young man then said to the young woman, “Look, I’ll be a bigger man and apologize to you. I apologize for speaking that way.” She completely changed demeanor, and said, “You’re good, you’re good.” The young man held out his hand, and she shook his hand. She repeated “You’re good,” and exited the train car.  

Anyway, just wanted to share that! Thanks for your guidance on our search for a nonviolent future. 🙂

Charles, Chicago