‘Fare’ Treatment
Categories: living

By Michelina Docimo


On my way into Manhattan this morning, the train was delayed a few minutes at the Harlem stop.  The reason: someone in car 2 hadn’t paid their fare.  The conductor announced it over the intercom  before arriving at 125th, signaling for a NYC cop to intervene.  As I waited with the train doors open, I wondered more than who this person was… I began to think how did they get here in car 2, without being able to pay from point A to point B.  Was it a single mother, struggling to feed her family, looking for work, no place to go, except somewhere, wherever the train would stop?  Was it a teenager just acting out or trying to escape their own harsh reality of maybe unemployed parents who can’t make the rent?  It made me wonder if this person felt ashamed, embarrassed, indifferent, angry that they couldn’t pay their way.  It made me wonder what those few minutes of conversation were like with the cop and whether the cop showed any mercy or asked the person to step off the train and watch the gap.  With recent news that 1 in every 7 Americans are living in poverty, it made me think about the six degrees of separation and how we’re moving farther away from each other.  These aren’t statistics, these are real people, close to us.  There was no “other side” – the tracks connected us.  Watch these ABC news clips about real people sliding from middle class into poverty and read about the rising rates of poverty due to the impact of the recession:

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