D.C. Woman Scolded for Tweeting Picture of Metro Employee Eating on Train

May 14, 2019

File Photo - Jessica Kourkounis / Stringer / Getty Images

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By Scott Gelman

A D.C. woman who shared a photo of a uniformed Metro employee eating on a train last week has since deleted her Twitter account.

Last Friday, author Natasha Tynes photographed an unidentified black woman wearing a Metro uniform and tweeted the photo in a since-deleted post.

“When you’re on your morning commute & see a @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” the tweet said. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was ‘worry about yourself.’”

Tynes, who The Washington Post reported is a World Bank employee, did receive a response from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The Twitter account Metrorail Info said “thank you for catching this and helping us to make sure all Metro employees are held accountable.”

Passengers aren’t allowed to eat, drink, smoke or litter on D.C. trains or in Metro stations, according to WMATA rules.

In an email, a Metro spokesman said it doesn’t comment on personnel matters but noted this type of instance wouldn’t result in much more than counseling for a first offense.

Barry Hobson of the Metro workers union told the Post the employee was on a break and traveling from one assignment to the next.

Regardless, Tynes faced backlash on social media, with many critics claiming the issue went beyond the employee eating on the train.

“It was this Black Woman’s refusal to bend to the demands of @NatashaTynes that brought on this post & subsequent complaint with the train company,” wrote Twitter user Leslie Mac.

“I’m still just so confused as to why she thought this was complaint-worthy. How does an employee eating on the train impact you? Seriously, how?” writer Andi Zeisler wrote.

Before deleting her account, Tynes issued an apology, but that didn’t prevent her book publisher from weighing in. In a statement, California Coldblood said it doesn’t condone her actions and hopes “Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systematic racism the most and that we have to be allies, not oppressors.”

The book’s distributor, Rare Bird, said in a statement it believes her actions are unacceptable and has “no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way.

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