Public Transit Horrors

October 28, 2023 | Derek Choi

Public Transit Horrors

Arguments, fights, or just something weird and disgusting. There are all sorts of things happening on public transit that might make you look twice. These Redditors share strange, gross, and concerning scenes on public transit that made them want to get the heck out of there!

1. Forbidden Readings

During my initial visit to New York City, I boarded the subway with my companions alongside a formidable-looking man bearing three teardrop tattoos, usually indicative of having experienced incarceration or being part of a gang. He gets on and sits across from us. He stares at us for a minute with this indescribable anger in his eye. He looks to his left and looks to his right as though he is checking for witnesses.

The coast is clear. Me and my friends are sweating buckets thinking we're about to get mugged or beaten up. We were so, so wrong. Instead, he nods at us, reaches into his backpack, and takes out a copy of Twilight: New Moon. Evidently, the movie was coming out soon and he wanted to make sure he finished the book before going to see it.

Public transit

2. Ruffling Feathers

A guy was sitting at the train station waiting for his train. As he was waiting, he was eating a bag of chips. Eventually, he noticed a lot of pigeons were eyeing his chips enviously. So, he threw a chip out on the platform. Several pigeons immediately flew down and grabbed it. Then he threw another chip. Having seen that nothing bad happened to the first couple of pigeons, several more pigeons flew down and fought for the chip.

The guy did this several more times, each time getting more and more pigeons fighting for the chip. Finally, the train came to the station and the doors opened. People got on but the man just continued to sit there. It wasn't the train he was waiting for. He had a truly brilliant and horrible plan. Just as the doors were about to close, the man threw the entire bag of chips onto the train.

The entire flock of pigeons, well trained by now, promptly swarmed into the train car furiously fighting over the chips. The doors closed and the train pulled away...filled with trapped and angry pigeons and commuters.

Public transitPexels

3. Meeting His Eyes

I was in LA as a tourist traveling alone as a small woman. An obviously homeless man gets on the bus and proceeds to stare me down. I was freaked. And then decided he wasn't going to win. I knew just what I had to do. I stared back. We have a staring contest and at the same time break stares and start laughing. Now we're cool. My pal starts silently passing out gum to the people across the aisle from him.

They try to politely decline but he just holds it out until they take it. And chew it. Another dude on the bus is feeling left out. He asks for a piece. My new friend pulls the same stare down with dude while simultaneously giving gum to everyone else around him but the dude that asked for it. The dude gets really mad.

He then turns his attention to digging around in his bedroll. Pulls out a tiny live turtle that fits in the palm of his hand. A turtle. I moved to the back of the bus at that point.

Public transitUnsplash

4. Crying For Attention

I was riding a city bus to the university I was attending. It was early morning, right in the middle of the commute time, the bus was packed. There was a woman sitting with her son in her lap. Every so often the son would cry, and she would comfort him, lovingly. I thought little of this until he yelped more than cried. That's when I realized the chilling truth.

She was digging her nails into his arm, until he cried and then would comfort him. I have heard of parents hurting their children for the attention themselves, or to seem like good parents, I’ve just never seen it. As it began to happen again, a homeless man got up and got right in her face. He said to her, "We all see what you are doing, but I am the only one who doesn't care what people think of me. You cut that out, or I will fix this problem".

He was right, people were too afraid of what would happen to help the boy, it took someone more removed. She stopped, and I do my best to deal with things right when I find they don't sit right with me.

Public transitPexels

5. Self Dental Care!

My first ride on the max train in Portland, in the middle of the day, a guy got on the train carrying a bottle of Listerine. He was drinking the Listerine and drooling all over the place. He kept saying "You know sweeeeenney toooodddd? Heeee sliitttt!" while he would make a slicing motion across his neck and a kind of a "slackkkkk" noise.

He kept saying this over and over to everyone getting on at every stop. People kept moving to different spots and changing seats to get away from this guy. I was sitting directly across from him, just trying not to make eye contact. Finally, this guy gets on at one of the stops and unknowingly sits down right next to him.

Listerine guy immediately starts going into his Sweeney Todd bit and is just spitting all over him. He then tries to shake hands with the guy, and you could tell the guy was just so uncomfortable and didn't know what to do. So, he took his hand to shake it, and the guy sneezes at that exact moment. But that's not nearly the worst part. A tooth shot out of his mouth, straight into the guy’s face! He looked absolutely disgusted and got up immediately to make his way to the exit and got off at the next stop.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

6. A Ditch In The Bushes

I was in Holland, and me along with some of my comrades were taking a bus down to Eindhoven. It was about an hour and a half long trip with all of the stops. I had to pee, but figured the trip was only going to take like 30 minutes and I could make it. An hour into the trip I finally had to ask the bus driver if he could wait for me while I went at the next stop, and he said okay, just hurry.

So, we pulled up to the next bus stop, and there were two polite guys chilling. I couldn't hold it any longer, so I just thought I'd go a bit further away. So, I walked over to the bushes back behind the little bus terminal, and didn't see this massive, steep drop off of a ditch in my path. When I realized what was happening, it was too late. I fall into it, cut my leg and arm up a bit, and get completely muddy and grassy.

So I get up, do my business, and climb out and jog back to the bus. I'm just walking back to the bus, covered in blood, mud, grass, and pee. The guys outside and everyone on the packed bus just look sympathetically at me like I'm completely stupid and obviously not quite able to pee on bushes without screwing myself up beyond recognition.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

7. No Food Here!

In Atlanta, the airport lies at the very end of one rail line. On the way there, a dejected homeless woman had been walking up and down the car repeatedly asking in a flat voice for two dollars, to get something to eat. About two stops away, she shuffles by another homeless man, who was in some way impaired and had mostly been laughing and clapping the whole time.

He looks at her and shouts, "Ain't no two-dollar sandwiches at the airport!" and goes back to his own little world. The woman slumps into a seat and begins to weep, as the rest of the car rides on in silence.

Public transitPexels

8. Moisturizing In Public

I was in the Army stationed out in Hawaii and took the bus back to base one hungover morning. At one of the stops, an old man with wild hair got on the bus and sat next to me. A few minutes later he slowly reached into a paper bag and pulled out a cottage cheese container. He pulled the lid off and just stared inside for a minute. I prepared for the worst...

He reached in and removed something that looked like an octopus head. It was gray, mottled, and slimy and then he proceeded to rub it on his bare forearm. Everyone on the bus was staring at him in surprise and disgust. He stared at his arm for another minute, replaced whatever it was in the plastic container, and returned it to his bag. He never said a word and got off a few stops later. It was weird.

Public transitPexels

9. A Cocktail Of Oh No…

One time I was on the Metra to Chicago. Halfway through the ride, a girl in her mid-20s got on. She looked like she hadn't slept in days. She was pretty frumpy, and her hair was messed up. Her pupils were also tiny and pinned. I heard her ask me if she could sit next to me, in her squeaky, speech-impeded voice. Even though I was getting bad vibes from this person, I let her sit next to me because I'm not mean. Little did she know, that might have saved her life. 

She sits down, and I go back to burying my face in my laptop. I see her pull a phone out and dial it. I guess she was calling her doctor's office or something, because she was asking all these medical questions about her painkiller prescription and about her recent surgery. The girl hangs up and begins rocking in her seat back and forth.

I was feeling more and more uncomfortable with each stop the train made. Halfway through the first phone call, I decided to record using my laptop's microphone. I thought maybe it'd make a good field recording and I might be able to use it in a song or something. I know it's not very polite to secretly record people, though.

Anyway, I am recording all this, listening to the output in my headphones when I hear her say, "Hi, is this poison control? Yeah, I took 800 mgs of Tramadol and 400 mgs of Benadryl by accident. My heart is beating really fast, and I don’t know what to do...I'm on the train right now...No...Don't stop the train, I'll just call my mom when I get off". My stomach dropped.

For those who don't know, Tramadol is an opioid, and an opioid is a synthetic painkiller. Tramadol is kinda different because it initially acts like a stimulant. Take more the 300mgs and you are at risk of having a seizure. I used to take 200mgs and get pretty high. Mix that with 400mgs of Benadryl, which potentates Tramadol, and things are doubly dangerous.

Not to mention that 400mgs of Benadryl makes you trip in the worst possible way. You see spiders and shadow people and hear voices. Not to mention it speeds up your heart rate quite a bit. I experiment with these sometimes, so I know my stuff. I started to realize that this girl might not be mentally challenged at all, but just very, very high up on tramadol and diphenhydramine.

I am startled by the vast quantity of substances she has ingested, so I can't quite recall her subsequent conversation on the phone. But as soon as she got off the phone, I turn to her and say, "I am sorry to eavesdrop, but did you say you took 800 mgs of Tramadol?" She nods. I ask her where she is getting off and she mumbles that she is getting off at Ogilvie, which is the end of the line and is also where I am getting off.

I talk to her until we get to the train station, to try and keep her awake. I tell her it's important that she doesn't fall asleep and that she keeps breathing. This girl was in bad shape. Her eyes were rolling to the back of her head. And she was nodding pretty hard. Her breathing was really shallow too, so I have her follow my breathing.

I don't know if that helped, but my sister always had me follow her breathing when I would have panic attacks, and it was at least comforting. I held her hand. Looking back, I don't know why I didn't ask if there was a doctor on board. The train was pulling into the station, and I asked her if she could walk. She said yes, and I help her off the train and we go to the food court.

I sit her down and get her some water from the Dunkin Donuts. Then I contacted 9-1-1, informing them that this girl I met on the train could potentially have ingested too much of a substance and we were located at Ogilvie train station. I give them the address, and we waited for the ambulance. We wait, I talk to her a bit until the paramedics come and when they do, I explain to them that she took a massive amount of Tramadol and Benadryl. They take her heart rate, put her on a stretcher, put her in the back of the ambulance, and drive off.

I don't know what happened to her. I hope she is okay.

Public transitShutterstock

10. A Brand-New Eyepatch

This one time on a night bus at like 2 AM, I was coming back home from a night out. A large group of guys and one girl got on and sat right up the back of the bus. My friends and I got on, and are minding our own business, when the one girl starts spitting at people sitting closest to her. They move, but we stay put, thinking she is just on something.

Next thing they all light up and start screaming at the bus driver to let them open the windows. Bus driver doesn't do anything, and at this point, everyone on the bus is cautiously glancing around hoping these kids don't do anything too stupid. Finally, some of them get up and make their way off the bus. Before I know it that one girl has whacked my eye and I start kind of whimpering cause it hurt.

The friend beside me gets up and tries to defend me, but the girl runs off the bus and I'm left thinking: heck man, where the heck is my emergency eyepatch, and am I going to be permanently blind in one eye? Oh my god, my depth perception is gonna be so out… Luckily, she only got the tip of my eyelid. I still have a scar though. Never found her. My eye was puffy and gross for weeks.

Public transitShutterstock

11. Something Smells…

I was on the F train on the NYC Subway going from 42nd Street into Queens. This old Asian woman gets on at Queensbridge and is just hanging out with this plastic bag. Some young person is sitting next to her. All of a sudden, the bag starts flopping and the guy beside her screams. The Asian woman, in broken English says, "No worries, just my feeesh". She had a live fish in a plastic bag on the subway.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

12. A Little Too Much

I was on the Red Line, coming home from a night of drinking. There was a group of girls sitting a few seats down from me and my friends. They all looked pretty rough. We pull into a station, and one of the girls jumps up, runs out the door, and starts projectile vomiting. That's when the floodgates opened. As she's led out of the car by one friend, another one starts puking on the floor.

That girl runs out to the trash can. Everyone in the car is starting to head for the exits and the cars on either side. As we get into that car, ANOTHER girl starts puking, so now 3 of the 4 women in this party are hurling into a trash can simultaneously, and their seemingly sober friend looks like she wants to disappear into thin air.

Public transitShutterstock

13. A Regular Stench

Being in a college town, I didn't have a car, and the busses were free with my ID, so I had a bit too much time to spend on public transportation. Periodically, the bus would stop, and this large, obese man would enter. He'd usually sit down near the front and not look at anyone. I'd usually be in the back, but it'd be a noticeable wave as some...stench emanated from where he was.

When it got to me my eyes started watering. Pure urine. It was so strong people started coughing and gagging. It just grew to encompass the entire bus. He didn't react, he didn't do anything; he just sat there like a giant sack of suet, hanging over the seat. I got off at the bus terminal, closely followed by everyone else on the bus.

As for the bus, it was suddenly not in service, and needed to be cleaned. Such a stench...I probably won't ever forget it. And this was regular! I'd see him once every two weeks or so, and every time it was the same. The smell of urine would coat the entire bus, and it was impossible to breathe properly. We just called him Urine Man. He appeared in a daze and left with a yellowish haze.

Public transitPexels

14. A Grisly Sight

This homeless man came up to me one night on BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit, and sat down next to me, essentially cornering me in the window seat. I thought he was going to give me the whole classic, "Woe is me, money will help" tale but instead he simply removed some wrappings from his leg and revealed a wound that was rotting to the bone. Like, it was so gross that I couldn't believe it was real and he was still able to walk alive, I guess.

I gave him $5 and wished him well. I didn't know what else to do.

Public transitShutterstock

15. A Holiday Train Car

The train was, as expected, crowded, but nothing too overwhelming. As the train approached Secaucus station, there was a mysterious humming sound that began as the train slowed to a stop. Confused by the unusual sound, I looked out the window and my blood ran cold. That's when I realized that the “humming” was actually thousands upon thousands of screaming college kids.

I braced myself for impact, moved into one of the corners, and prayed to the God I knew didn’t exist. After what felt like 20 minutes of sitting and anticipating the tidal wave of obnoxiousness, the doors opened. With the herd of youth, there came the stench of early morning shame and regret. A lot happened in the 15-minute ride from Secaucus station to New York Penn Station.

2 people vomited, a conflict erupted, and 1 girl sobbed uncontrollably. On that fateful St. Patrick’s Day, in a train car filled with mistakes and pre-hangovers, I finally understood why my parents had been so annoyed with me all throughout college. There was a lot of messed-up self-discovery taking place in that cubical of disgust.

Public transitFlickr

16. Heading To The Back

I was once on the New York subway traveling across town. Everything was going fine, but I noticed an older man upfront. He was pretty dirty and had a nice beard going, so I thought that he might be homeless. He was just sitting there reading an old magazine when he started squirming around in his seat. He looked really uncomfortable, but I couldn't figure out why.

After a few minutes, he glanced around him—the subway was pretty empty; there were maybe 5 people between us—and then looked back down to his magazine. A stench started working its way throughout the car, and then it hit me at the back. I realized that he had just relieved himself in his pants. He didn't seem worried at all.

I think everyone near me realized as they were gagging because of the smell. Those last few minutes on the subway felt like hours and when it reached my stop, I burst out the doors and took a massive gulp of air. Needless to say, I didn't take the subway back.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

17. When A Fight Breaks Out

About 40 teenagers got on the train I was riding once. Some girl maced a boy in the face. Everyone was someone’s cousin and they all started fighting and punching each other senseless on a mace-filled train. Meanwhile, passengers are choking everywhere, and tears were streaming on everyone's face. It was complete mayhem.

Public transitShutterstock

18. Is This A Curse?

We were riding the DART rail in Dallas to the State Fair of Texas. There was a super high crazy guy on there that kept staring at my one-year-old son and repeating in a low, creepy voice, “He will not take you, but he will take the child. He will not take you, but he will take the child".
Needless to say, we were not happy. We just wanted funnel cakes, not threats of demonic kidnapping.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

19. Watching Our Backs

I stayed in Istanbul for a month. During that time, I came to the conclusion that some women lean back-to-back to avoid harassment. My first encounter, as a woman myself, was very weird though. It was super crowded and there were only two other girls there. Without saying anything, they wiggled their way to me, and both leaned their back on my back. Not gonna lie, I was quite spooked. I haven't experienced it in any other city.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

20. How Not To Impress Girls

I was on the WKD, a small train line between Warsaw and Grodzisk. Lots of crazy things happened on this communist-era train. The worst though, had to be this one night. I sat down alone on my plastic seat, the only other people in the train were these two guys and two girls. The guys were kind of like skinheads in tracksuits. They were laughing so I sat and started reading.

Well, these guys were messing around with the windows and one of them lifted himself up on the bars and kicked the window, shattering it. They did this three times and then ran off laughing. All I could think of was, "Freaking teenagers". What these guys do is run to another compartment of the municipal train, leaving the two girls on the train".

Czech... something something something". They said to me. I told them I didn't understand, and they said, "Oh you speak English. These guys, they are crazy please, can we sit with you?" And I nodded. They told me they thought the guys were cool at first but then they started smashing windows and flipping out to be cool.

The two guys came back and saw me with the girls. I looked at them, not like someone looking for a fight, but someone just disapproving. Normally this is where I get my butt handed to me, I look like a hippie and these guys hate my kind. But for some reason, before anything happened, they tapped each other and left the train as it stopped. Five minutes later the train was rushed by a Polish Swat team.

Public transitShutterstock

21. On The Opposite Train

I was on the subway a few years back. We pulled into the station and heard the dreaded announcement: "This train will be delayed due to a law enforcement investigation". I look out the window, and on the opposite side, directly across from my line of vision, I see E.M.T.'s swarming near a train parked on the other tracks. I watch in horrified fascination as they pull a body from underneath the train and place it onto one of those planks that they carry people with.

My mind can barely comprehend what it's seeing. Then the E.M.T.'s start trying to resuscitate. The body, I couldn't tell if it was male or female, but it was completely red. The limbs flopped around like those liquid-filled snake toys you got as a kid. I guess the bones and muscle had been crushed. I see the E.M.T.'s put one of those oxygen masks over the person's mouth and start pumping.

I then realize...this person is still alive. I can see the person breathe and thrash about. The E.M.T.'s run off, carrying the person to an ambulance, I assume. I then hear, "Stand clear of the closing doors, please". And the train moves on, as if nothing had happened.

Public transitShutterstock

22. Crispy…

I was on the 43 bus in San Francisco, riding it home from high school like I do every day. My friends and I were sitting next to a pretty normal-looking guy in his mid-thirties. Halfway through the bus ride, the guy starts muttering to himself, takes out a lighter and starts burning the palm of his hand. It wasn't brief burst of flame, either. He just held the flame to his palm for like thirty seconds at a time and didn't even seem to feel it. The whole bus started to smell like burning bacon and you could see his skin blister and then start charring.

Public transitPexels

23. You Want To Sit Where?!

I was riding an MBTA bus to work in East Weymouth, MA a few years ago. This happened 30 minutes into my bus ride, after my hour-long train ride. There was me, sitting in the middle of the bus, an old lady wearing her Sunday best sitting in the front, and this 40-year-old construction worker guy, two rows behind me, who looked like he had just attended back-to-back bachelor parties.

Without warning, bachelor party guy leans over and vomits onto the floor. There was no big heaving sound, just the sound of liquid hitting a solid surface. The stench hit me almost immediately. Worst smelling vomit I've ever encountered. Very bile-y, rotten milk-y, baby diaper-y. Not wanting to be rude, I didn't even turn around, just sat there and took it.

I eventually took the piece of gum I was chewing and stuck it to my upper lip, directly underneath my nose. What happened next was the strange part. The nice old lady, wearing her Sunday best, abruptly stands up. She looks back at the two of us festering in the vomit smell, walks right to him, and sits down directly across the aisle from him.

She voluntarily went from 20 feet away from the festering puddle of stomach juices to about two feet. Not a word was spoken. She folded her hands in her lap and continued the blank public transport stare out the front windshield of the bus. To this day I have no idea why she came to sit next to the puke. I've lost sleep over it.

Public transitWikimedia.Commons

24. I Want Off NOW!

I was on the bus going home and I was sitting at the back of the bus, right next to the emergency door. The bus was halfway between two stops, with barely any distance between them, when this guy storms down from the top deck demanding the bus driver stop. Well, the driver refused, because he’s not allowed to stop until the next one.

The guy slams against the driver's window really loud and then storms up to the back of the bus right where I'm sitting, opens the emergency door, and jumps off the bus into the middle of the road whilst the bus is still moving. I then, rather than sit next to an open door, reached out and pulled it shut. One more minute and we'd have been at the bus stop. Talk about impatience.

Public transitShutterstock

25. That’s Some Sweet Hair!

The car was about a third full. Sitting across from me was a young woman in business attire, reading the Tribune. I was immersed in my iPod. It was a normal Tuesday afternoon train ride home. We get to a stop and a big group of people get on. The car is a little over half full. In the midst of this crowd was another woman, dressed in street clothes.

She sees the businesswoman as she looks for a seat, and shouts "GIRRRRL, YOU GOT THAT RIHANNA BOB GOIN' ON, LIKE ELLA, ELLA, EH, EH, EH!" The fact that she shouted it at top volume to a woman who clearly didn't know her, on a crowded train before rush hour, in the most stereotypical sassy girl voice you could think of, had me on the floor.

Public transitShutterstock

26. Losing Your Guts

I was on my way home from my downtown university to my suburban home when I noticed my train didn't start moving again after a particular stop. I looked up from my textbook, looked around, and then glanced out the window to my left. A teenager was leaning against a concrete wall on the platform, less than 5 feet from my seat in the train.

He was holding his stomach, trying to keep his innards from falling out a bleeding gash. My train was stopped for over an hour, as emergency personnel arrived and treated him in front of me and the rest of the train. Law enforcement arrived and requested information from all of us. The entire situation was quite surreal.

Public transitPexels

27. In The Mystery Bag

In Melbourne, I've seen a lot of people ‘chroming’ on the train, which is where people inhale paint cans or petrol, usually from a plastic or paper bag. One day on my way to university, I saw a guy inhaling from a paper bag. "Oh, another chroming dude, awesome," I dismissively thought to myself. Suddenly he pulls a sandwich out of the bag and begins eating it, then throws the bag away. Guy was just inhaling his sandwich.

Public transitShutterstock

28. The Little Suitcase

I saw a guy, about 15 years old, chubby, and always wearing a light blue T-shirt, entering a bus line I was taking a few years ago. When the bus stopped and the driver opened the door, he just stood there with his little suitcase, staring at me or another passenger, and said, "Take my suitcase in". No "please," no "can you," just a straight order.

I thought that he had some kind of disability and that he couldn't carry heavy objects but once I grabbed his suitcase, it was pretty light, and as I said, he was not looking like a weak guy. I expect everyone to be able to do this on their own. This happened several times, and I have no explanation why this guy always had his little suitcase with him and why he always wanted others to carry it for basically one foot.

Public transitShutterstock

29. Are We There Yet?

I saw some DDLG role play on the bus. Both were in their mid-thirties and heavyset, dressed like they were in middle school, and the lady even had a pacifier. She kept asking her “daddy” repeatedly, baby voice and all, if they were at the park yet. That’s not even the worst part of it, she would give her pacifier to her partner and he’d slob on it—heavily—and put it back in her mouth for her. And then she would make this weird crooning noise. I’m shivering already just remembering.

Public transitShutterstock

30. Sudden Celebrity

In Los Angeles, I got on the bus and sat near the back next to a woman. Across from us was a man wearing what appeared to be a potato sack. He had those crazy eyes where you can never really tell what direction they're looking, but it seemed like he kept glancing at me. As people got up and off the bus, he would inch closer and closer, until the woman next to me got up and he sat directly next to me.

Staring at me wide-eyed, he muttered, "It's an honor to meet you". I, the awkward penguin, shook his hand and said, "You too". He then proceeded to tell me that I was Jesus in my past life, which he knew because he was apparently an archangel. I assume I appeared somewhat scared, so to comfort me, he confidently stated that he USED to engage in substance misuse but is now leading a substance-free life.

Public transitPexels

31. Play A Song!

This happened to my husband years ago, before I knew him. He starts making his way to the back of a packed bus and notices a little bubble of empty seats surrounding a man who looked likely to be homeless and crazy. Not being shy with either type, he sits down next to him and they start chatting. The only thing this guy has is a trombone case in his lap.

After a few minutes he asks: "Wanna see my trombone?" Husband replies with an emphatic "Sure!" The guy opens up the case and sitting inside is a banana. So, without missing a beat, my husband asked him if he knows any good songs...which made the guy look at him funny and stop talking. Yeah, I'm married to a guy who weirded out a man who plays a banana...and I'm proud!

Public transitUnsplash

32. The Doppelganger

It was a hot summer day in Los Angeles. I was riding the eastbound bus, crammed full, with no standing room and no air conditioning. Bus stops at Fairfax, the doors open, and there’s a slight breeze. Slowly boarding the bus was an older, greyish-looking white guy. He was dressed head-to-toe in black. Black dyed ironed hair, black lipstick, chipped black nail polish, worn black clothes.

He pulled his luggage rack behind him up the stairs. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Lo and behold, he's lugging a dingy old mannequin that is the spitting image of himself. Same clothes, same greyish pallor, same black, ironed hair, same black lipstick, same chipped black nail polish. The departing passengers had left a seat at the very front, so he slides in and sets the mannequin on his lap.

Everyone on the bus was momentarily like, "That's something I haven't seen yet". The abuelitas exchanged humored glances. The bloated Russian in the back momentarily stopped yelling at the driver to turn on the air conditioning. But they all quickly settled back into the state of general public blasé that one tends to fall into when riding a packed, hot bus.

Though most took pleasure at seeing the faces of the new passengers during the next stops when confronted by the man and his manni-me.

Public transitShutterstock

33. A Sudden Shift

About fifteen years ago I took a bus and a woman sat next to me at the very back and asked me what I was reading. I was reading about history, and she wanted to know everything about it. I was delighted to explain it to her. After about ten minutes of pleasant conversation, she suddenly got up and said, "Wait just one minute," then goes up to a young couple at the front of the bus who were speaking in Arabic. What happened next left me stunned.

Out of nowhere, she started screaming at them and saying they were responsible for 9/11, that they were terrorists, literal pieces of garbage, etc. Everyone was shocked and the man started yelling back. The driver strangely did nothing to stop the woman, and the couple got off as soon as they could. Then, with everyone on the bus staring at her, the woman walked back to the seat next to me and tried to resume our conversation as if nothing had occurred.

Public transitPexels

34. Duck, Duck, Goose

Old dude walks onto the train. Like super old dude. He's a regular troublemaker. When we see him, we know that he's going to harass someone. Everyone knows a public commuter like that. So, the dude is humming a tune but as he passes the first person, he says, "Duck" and touches the top of their head. "Tap". It's super gross.

He continues in a predictable manner as everyone tries to dodge his awful hobo hand of God. "Duck 'Tap', duck 'tap', duck 'tap', duck 'tap', duck 'tap," he repeats this mantra as he molests scalps. He touches your head, and you feel microbes leave his fingertips and invade your head. So, things are getting intense because no one knows what's going to happen when he reaches the back of the train.

At the back is this big thug sitting at the end of the train with an I-wish-you-would expression on his face and the old guy is in the middle of the coach already. It's like Russian Roulette after the trigger's been pulled for the fourth time. Anyway, the dude is busy touching all the passengers and time's finally up. Big guy, who's probably about 55, is confronted by the super ancient dude.

It's awkward and intense and a stare-off is underway. It's about to go down. Now, I already got my frontal lobe blessed by this guy, so I'm waiting for the big guy to get his. Old guy raises his hand like a priest. The word that we anticipate is about to come out, he gets the first syllable out, "Duh..". and WACK!!!! The big guy strikes him. Everyone erupts, the old man falls, stumbles up, and leaves the coach, never to be seen on the train again...

Public transitShutterstock

35. Give Up Your Seat!

One time on a bus, this woman who was about eight months pregnant and had a four-year-old child with her didn't get up to give her seat to an old lady. The old lady did not want the seat, she saw the pregnant lady would have had a hard time standing, and with the kid too, it would have been a mess. But some crazy woman didn't like it and kept yelling "PUT THAT KID ON YOUR LAP".

The woman had no lap, she was eight months pregnant, and the old lady and the pregnant woman ignored her. This is where it got horrifying. Crazy lady was mad, so she lunged over, grabbed the pregnant woman by the head and smashed her into the window, also smashing the four-year-old, who was in the inside seat. There was blood everywhere.

Everyone bugged out. Wailing from the child and pregnant woman. Pregnant woman had nail marks bleeding on her forehead, her nose was bleeding. The crazy lady just bounced off the bus at the next stop, but there were about a million plainclothes officers around. They brought her back and the whole bus was like YEAH, HER.

Public transitShutterstock

36. In Broad Daylight

I live in San Francisco, meaning there are A LOT of crazy people. The most messed up thing I ever saw was riding home from work. It wasn't even late, and there was an obese lady sitting at the front of the bus taking up several seats with her girth, she had a GIANT black "toy" that she was waving around, and before long started going at herself with it, at the front of the bus, broad daylight, with lots of kids around. That probably takes the cake as my most disturbing story.

Public transitShutterstock

37. How Wild Is It Really…?

Recently, I moved to Chicago from Arizona and was going to take the train downtown. It was getting late, and I had heard the Blue Line into town got interesting at night, but boy was I in for it. I walk up into a car just as the train is about to leave the stop and immediately regret the entire trip. As soon as I cross the threshold of the doors, they close behind me Indiana Jones style and I am now along for the ride.

An elderly gentleman with his back to me was the lone passenger aside from myself, and I now know why I was the only one who got on this car at the stop. He was standing in the middle of the car, his pants fully around his ankles, carrying on about his day. It was similar to old men chatting in a YMCA locker room after a good long day doing whatever it is they do in the gym.

I was disappointed none of the passengers exiting the car attempted to warn me but lucky for me he had not seen I got on. Until he did. In addition to his obviously stutter-y attempts at conversation with me he seemed to be having a conversation with himself regarding how great his night was. Suffice to say I too left that car hastily at the next stop.

I moved one car back thinking things would be better, and it was until it wasn't. After sitting down, a rougher-looking character barely slipped in the door similar as I had done earlier. Not too long after he took his seat, he began heating up a spoon with a lighter. He proceeded to shoot up on a moving train with others onboard who were now understandably moving to the other end of the car.

Following this he used the same needle to take blood out of his foot and re-inject it into his neck using the window as a mirror. Now I have never seen anyone shoot up in public like that, but I was wholeheartedly unprepared to handle this guy’s public transit blood transfusion. He left the train at the next stop and the rest of us exchanged glances as if to confirm what we had all just experienced together.

Public transitShutterstock

38. Smoke and More

About a year and a half ago this rough-looking, early 20-something girl got on the subway and lit up a smoke. People immediately started looking at the ground, and I politely pointed to one of the signs and told her she wasn't supposed to smoke on the subway. She puts it out, apologizes, and says she isn't from here, so she didn't know.

Not sure what backwater place you're allowed to smoke on transit, but whatever. She goes and sits a few seats away from me, next to this older guy, who looks like he's on his way home from a long day at a low-paying manual labor job. He is also a bit rough-looking, and his clothes are pretty worn. They start talking, and I look down at my phone.

I look back up about a minute later, and her head is in his lap. He is leaning back with a very satisfied look on his face and is half-heartedly attempting to shield the rest of the subway from this by holding a plastic bag with some Tupperware in it in front of them. Everybody around them has gotten out of there, and there are about eight empty seats now, with people standing as far away as possible from this scene.

The train held here in the tunnel for some reason before pulling into one of the busiest stations on the line. Each person who came through the doors made a right to go sit in one of the empty seats, but then made an immediate 180 when they saw what was happening. It continued until almost the next stop, where the man got up, and got off the train.

The girl went and sat down next to somebody in front of me, who immediately stood up and moved to the other end of the train. I was deeply concerned she would start talking to me again, so I did my best to retreat into my phone and my headphones. She exited a few stops later without any more dialogue, smoke sticks, or...anything else. It was about 8:30 PM on a weeknight

Public transitShutterstock

39. The Pyromaniac

It was a normal Sunday morning in Seattle. I was on a bus and this disheveled man gets on with a gasoline can in one hand and a lighter in the other hand. He goes to the back of the bus and sits down. I am sitting sideways to get a few quick glimpses of him—and there's an undeniable madness in his eyes. That's a red flag if I've ever seen one.

My wife and I calmly get up and go tell the bus driver. We got off at the next stop and start walking off. We turn around and look, and the bus driver is kicking this dude off the bus, and we are still not that far away. The problem is that this crazy has to know we ratted him out, and we were the only ones to get off at this stop.

It's a busy street but there are no other people or businesses, just a condo complex and a large uphill the direction we needed to walk and nothing the other way. As he is getting off, we quickly dart into a side alley. The alley is a huge set of stairs that goes straight up to a higher-level parking lot and presumably other streets.

Adjacent to the stairs that lead straight up are winding stairs that are part of the condo complex with a locked entrance leading into each floor of the condo. We rush up the stairs, hearts racing. Knowing we couldn't make it to the top of the stairs before crazy passes, we get about halfway up and dart over to the condo stairs and hide and peak a glance.

Crazy gets to the stairs and STARTS WALKING METHODICALLY UP THEM TOWARDS US. We have two choices: dart back up the long staircase and start running like crazy or hide. We decide to hide. I will say that I don't think my heart has ever raced so fast as we waited for this guy walking up the stairs. I was mentally preparing to fight.

After what seems like an eternity, we see him get up to our level, and he just slowly keeps walking up the stairs past us. After a minute, we rush down the stairs the opposite way and walk home.


40. Brought To You By…

You know they say if you don’t see the crazy guy on the bus, you’re the crazy guy on the bus. I hadn’t seen crazy in a while, so I started to wonder. But one day, I saw this guy crossing the street holding an old-time transistor radio and singing coming to the bus stop. I think to myself: okay, I’m not the crazy one today.

Sure enough, when the bus comes, he sits right across me. The whole time, he’s singing to the radio. When the sound is over, we finally have silence. But he then starts singing the next song from beginning to end. This went on the whole bus ride. But here’s the crazy part. The radio had no batteries. The back was completely open. I could see it. The dude was just singing songs. But he was also pausing for a DJ, or commercials or something. He could sing really well too.

Public transitShutterstock

41. A Smoky Bus

A few years ago, I’m on a bus in Edinburgh heading home through a slightly dodgy area. There are only a couple people on the upstairs deck—me, a teenage boy with headphones on, and an old lady minding her own business. A man, perhaps in his 30s, gets on, being completely obnoxious in a tracksuit. He wanders to the back of the upstairs deck.

I start to smell something weird—nothing I could identify, just weird and kind of nice in a chemical way. I turn around and so does the old lady. Chav guy is lighting his crack pipe, makes eye contact with old lady first and says, very politely, "Oh I'm sorry hen, It's just ma crack. Hope ye dinnae mind". Proceeds to smoke his crack for the rest of journey.

Public transitPexels

42. A Dangerous Carrot

There was a quite fashionably dressed man coming out of the metro in Paris in high heels, stockings, and a nice flowy skirt. He then proceeded to lift up said skirt, took a carrot out of his bag, and shamelessly engaged in a harsh act of self-harm for everyone to witness. My girlfriend was not as impressed as I was when I drew her attention to this act of public self-love.

Public transitShutterstock

43. An Impromptu Match

I was switching lines on the subway, and I passed through a 30-year-old group of people that were making a lot of noise. They all suddenly point at me and say "YOU! YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE REFEREE!" and I'm like, "Oh, okay," so they approach me and give me a whistle and an orange and red card. Then they make two teams and put me in the center of the "the field" they just defined.

They ask me to count the goals and the fouls, and they start playing with a soccer ball they just threw. When the "match" ended after ten minutes they told me this was a double bachelor party, they thanked me for refereeing it and cheered my name. They gave me a sparkling ring, and that was also the most random experience I've ever had.

Public transitUnsplash

44. Earning Points

This happened to me in ninth grade. I was waiting for the L train at Broadway Junction in Brooklyn when I overhear two kids saying one of them should fight me and push me on the tracks for gang points. I was pretty small back then, just a thin black kid with braids. I maintained my composure, gripping my books tightly, prepared to strike him should he attempt anything.

Out of nowhere, this older guy came beside me. He says, "I see you ready to rock, just stick with me". The two kids never did anything, but looking back at it, people in the ghetto do the dumbest stuff all for status.

Public transitUnsplash

45. Friends On The Train

I live in Berlin, so lots of strange stuff happens on public transport. But one thing freaked me out a lot. It was an elderly dude, maybe in his mid-60s, who seemed to have a child on his lap. I thought, "Cute, granddad bringing his grandchild out for a trip". On the opposite pair of seats, they had seated some dolls, which I thought was cute, if there was a little kid with him.

But then I thought it was strange that the kid's skin was so white, while the old man was dark-skinned. I walked past and noticed that he wasn't holding a child on his lap, but a big life-sized baby doll and he was surrounded by dolls. I've also seen people pushing dolls around in prams a lot before but this man sitting with a bunch of dolls on the train really gave me the creeps!

Public transitShutterstock

46. Lesser Of Two Evils

I was on the 6-train heading into 23rd street station in NYC when a sleeping man suddenly woke up and began touching himself furiously. Not at anybody in particular, but he was making some hilarious faces while he did it. Some old dude sitting next to him looks over and just cares exactly zero percent, because he's happy to have a seat rather than stand.

Needless to say, the train emptied at the next stop, and everybody went back to the next car. That turned out to be even worse. In that car, a man in a wheelchair had explosive diarrhea that covered the floor and soaked his clothing. The stench was so overwhelming I could smell it from the platform. People were rushing from that train car to pile into my car. It was the worst musical chairs game ever. Not wanting to have to wait for the next train, most people picked a poison and bore the pain.

Public transitShutterstock

47. The Trickle Of Rain

Two years ago, I was on a night train going from Saint Petersburg to Moscow. In the same carriage as me, there were these two Russian guys. From their ramblings and conversation, we could sort of pick up that they were father and son-in-law. They had a bunch of large, two-liter soda bottles with them, filled with lord knows what.

About a quarter of an hour into the 7-hour ride they were stupidly buzzed and harassing the girls in the carriage to the point where the train personnel asked us to wear long sleeves and trousers lest the men "lost control over themselves". At around midnight, however, one of my friends who was traveling with me woke up because he heard a noise like the trickling of water.

He tried closing the window because he thought it was raining, but it wasn’t raining at all. He flipped on the lights, and just started screaming. It turned out the older Russian dude had woken up and had taken it upon himself to pee all over the floor. He was just waddling around the carriage, pants down, spraying onto the feet and backpacks of my friends.

My friend started screaming at him to get the heck away, at which point his son-in-law woke up and promptly puked all over the place. The train was pulled to a stop at the next station, somewhere way out in the middle of nowhere between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and they kicked the dudes out. It was pretty bizarre.

Public transitShutterstock

48. What’s Up His Sleeve?

A few years back I was headed home in the afternoon after a night of drinking too much and sleeping on a couch, when a disheveled man approached me in an underground metro station. He had one arm in his dirty shirt and despite my headphones, asked for my attention and began talking to me.I'm devoid of a home and endured a puncture injury last night. Do you have a couple bucks to spare?"

He pulled the concealed arm out of his shirt, and I nearly lost my lunch. He had the most gruesome injury I've ever seen in person. He was cut to the bone down the length of his forearm. And oh, did it smell. Between the hangover and the smell, I don't know how I didn't vomit onto his exposed tibia. I don't remember if I had cash, but I don't remember giving him any.

I just kept telling him something to the effect of, "Money isn't going to help man, you need a hospital". I saw him approach a few other people and eventually, I saw him talking to an officer. I never saw what happened after that, my train came shortly after, but I'll never forget the sight of his arm or that rotting flesh smell.

Public transitShutterstock

Sources: ,

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