Emma Anderson (pictured), 82, was reportedly dragged off of the Miami Metrorail train system last month for allegedly singing religious hymns too loudly, according to WSVN 7 News.
The incident involving the octogenarian occurred on February 20th and was captured via a passenger’s cell phone video. The footage shows Anderson sitting in the corner seat of a railcar obliviously singing religious tunes and rhythmically tapping to them on her thigh with a rolled-up piece of paper.
An unnamed security guard spotted the senior, approached her, and repeatedly asked her to quiet down. Anderson continued to ignore the guard’s request. As the train stopped at Brikell station, the guard then grabbed Anderson’s cart roughly while Anderson tried to hold on for dear life.
The security guard then proceeded to drag both the cart and fragile old woman off the train. As the guard dragged Anderson along with her cart, roughshod, out of the railcar, Anderson fell on the platform.
According to a Miami-Dade County transit spokesperson, Karla Damian, the agency enforces a strict policy that no dancing, singing, or instrument playing is allowed on their railcars. The agency also released a public statement with regards to the Anderson incident:
We regret that Ms. Anderson had to eventually be escorted out, but regardless of age, all passengers need to abide by rules associated with using transit.
Anderson’s son, Donal Anderson, however, isn’t buying the statement, because he feels that the agency’s policy should not excuse the guard’s ruffian tactics toward his elderly mother, ”I understand what you’re saying about the noise policy, but there should also be a way that they can apprehend people and take them off the train.”
As a result of the fall, Anderson suffered a bruised shoulder but is maintaining a Christian attitude with regards to her harrowing incident, telling WSVN 7 News, ”I didn’t cry, ’cause God told me long ago he was going to dry my tears, no matter what happens now,” she said. As far as her singing is concerned, Anderson contends, “I was blind, but now I see,” as she contentedly sang “Amazing Grace.”
When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez heard about the Anderson incident, he issued a public apology on Thursday and spoke about his disappointment on how the entire episode was handled. The mayor wrote:
We are sorry that this incident occurred and apologize to Mrs. Anderson. The situation should have been handled with more care and common sense. We have made it clear to all county employees and contractors that our patrons must be treated with dignity and respect.
Anderson’s son told WSVN 7 News that although he appreciates the mayor’s apology, the real issue surrounding his mother’s ordeal is the security guard’s lack of sensitivity training when dealing with the public and with the elderly, in particular, “What I hope to come out of it is that they train security [personnel] as to how to deal with other folks, with anybody that’s on the Metrorail system,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Anderson family have hired an attorney who will delve in to the matter further.
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