London Underground chap threatens: ‘sling him under a train’

Everyone’s a citizen journalist now.

We’re all walking around with devices that can capture brilliant quality video (or in the case of the Samsung Omnia HD i8910, HD video at 720p@24fps).

This is beginning to make life difficult for quite a lot of people, in particular those in the service industry.

Take London Underground for example. Jonathan MacDonald, friend of Mobile Industry Review (See jMac’s MIR Show takeover), witnessed one of those negative customer service incidents that would normally have remained in the shocked consciousness of maybe 10-15 people for a few hours before being forgotten.

We’re so accustomed to not being able to ‘do anything’ about this kind of thing.

Not Jonathan MacDonald. Have a read of this. I’ve published an extract below for simplicity:

Today, just after 230pm, I saw an elderly man with his arm trapped in the closing door of a faulty train at Holborn Station.

We all thought the train was heading further east but actually, for reasons we shall never know, the train was terminating at Holborn and we were ushered out onto the platform by two (shouting) staff in Underground uniforms.

The elderly man was slow to get off in the mad rush, hence the entrapment.

A few people around called to staff to open the door again so he could be released.

About 30 seconds later the doors opened again and he removed his arm.

I watched as he calmly relayed his experience to the staff member (who was called Ian by the way).

Ian didn’t think it was a problem – in fact, he was furious that the guy had mentioned it at all, especially as the guy was standing close to the track.

After a while, Ian started shouting at the guy to “stand back there is a fucking train approaching“.

The elderly guy quietly questioned why Ian had to swear (as did several other passengers).

Ian literally screamed in this guys face (and I quote): “because there is a fucking train approaching and I need to make sure nobody is over the fucking yellow line“.

The elderly guy stood his ground – admittedly the wrong side of the yellow line (which was hard to see as there were hundreds of stranded people on the platform).

Ian then told the guy that he wasn’t allowed to get on the next train and had to “come upstairs to speak to the police“.

That was when I pulled out my video camera.

The below clip is taken immediately after Ian’s initial outburst and you can hear him repeat the police part too.

All seems fine until the incoming train arrives and the elderly guy tries to get on it – although watch how twitchy Ian is during the train arrival..

You will hear Ian telling him not to get on and then threatening a halted service until he gets off again.

Listen to what Ian says. Watch the reaction of the other passengers.

But then – right at the end of the clip (at exactly 50 seconds), you will hear Ian exclaim (again, I quote): “sling him under a train“.

I’m not sure this is cool. I felt compelled to blog it.

Jonathan then published this video of the experience:

The video clearly shows the London Underground staffer doing exactly as Jonathan describes. It’s shocking, it’s ridiculous, it’s totally uncalled for.

Now I’ve witnessed it, I’m not impressed. I doubt you will be too.

I love the fact that Jonathan made a complaint on the London Underground site (there’s a screenshot of it on his post) and in the ‘your comment’ section of the form, he simply wrote, ‘blogged entire incident here: http://www.jonathanmacdonald.com/?p=4024‘.

It used to be that complaints were handled easily by big faceless monopolies, especially in the UK. There was a department for complaints, somewhere in the bowels of the organisation, ignored by everybody else.

I suspect that’s how things work at London Underground at the moment.

But that complaint, thanks to Jonathan’s outrage and subsequent effort to publish the video and write the post, has now become a media issue. How long before the complaints department in big companies has to merge with the public relations department?

I think the chap in the video is certainly soon to learn the power of social media.

Nice post Jonathan!

Read the full post here.

23 Responses to London Underground chap threatens: ‘sling him under a train’

  1. Mike42 October 16, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    This comes hot on the heels of the Trafigura scandal on Monday/Tuesday.

    Basically, Twitter stopped a parliamentary injunction on Tuesday morning, and got the Mayor of our largest city personally involved in a Tube customer service altercation on Friday.

    What next? Twitter sorts global warming?

    The convergence of mobile devices, media portals (YouTube) and social networks is proving to be a massive hit with the public. Record what happened, secure it in the public domain, get the word out about it.

    Up till now, it's been used for good causes. I could however see it being used for ill. Imagine the BNP faking a video of some 'Asian' yobs beating a 'British' grannie (“on with the bootpolish, lads”). On to YouTube, Tweet it, bingo. Possibly temporary sh*tstorm (how would you prove it was fake?), but with real implications in the form of revenge attacks by the outraged.

    All I'm saying is, the Twitterati have scored two spectacular goals this week. How do we ensure this amazing new tool for social justice doesn't get twisted by those with an evil agenda?

    JMac has kudos, many of us know the guy personally, we take his word. But what's to stop some powerful PR firm hiring a crowd and kicking off some meme that ends up influencing, say, an election? or policy decision? How do we know who to trust? Do we trust that if a firm were to do evil, they would get busted?

    Or do we accept that overall, it's a thing for good? That sometimes it will get abused?

  2. matthew bennett October 16, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Surveillance only works for everyone when every one can create their own media. With every phone becoming a camcorder, people are will need to be nice in public, or the public will post it on the internet.

    Mike42 makes some good points too, but I don't know any easy solutions. My answer is “The Internet” : ). Peer review makes most things better, IMHO.

  3. Mike42 October 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    This comes hot on the heels of the Trafigura scandal on Monday/Tuesday.

    Basically, Twitter stopped a parliamentary injunction on Tuesday morning, and got the Mayor of our largest city personally involved in a Tube customer service altercation on Friday.

    What next? Twitter sorts global warming?

    The convergence of mobile devices, media portals (YouTube) and social networks is proving to be a massive hit with the public. Record what happened, secure it in the public domain, get the word out about it.

    Up till now, it's been used for good causes. I could however see it being used for ill. Imagine the BNP faking a video of some 'Asian' yobs beating a 'British' grannie (“on with the bootpolish, lads”). On to YouTube, Tweet it, bingo. Possibly temporary sh*tstorm (how would you prove it was fake?), but with real implications in the form of revenge attacks by the outraged.

    All I'm saying is, the Twitterati have scored two spectacular goals this week. How do we ensure this amazing new tool for social justice doesn't get twisted by those with an evil agenda?

    JMac has kudos, many of us know the guy personally, we take his word. But what's to stop some powerful PR firm hiring a crowd and kicking off some meme that ends up influencing, say, an election? or policy decision? How do we know who to trust? Do we trust that if a firm were to do evil, they would get busted?

    Or do we accept that overall, it's a thing for good? That sometimes it will get abused?

  4. matthew bennett October 16, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Surveillance only works for everyone when every one can create their own media. With every phone becoming a camcorder, people are will need to be nice in public, or the public will post it on the internet.

    Mike42 makes some good points too, but I don't know any easy solutions. My answer is “The Internet” : ). Peer review makes most things better, IMHO.

  5. public records May 10, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Mobile Industry Review wrote a note titled London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train.' Read the full text here.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. OscarB - October 16, 2009

    RT @mobileindustry: London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  2. Ewan - October 16, 2009

    London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  3. Richard - October 16, 2009

    RT @Ew4n: London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  4. Ed Cave - October 16, 2009

    RT @Ew4n: London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  5. Andy McKinna - October 16, 2009

    Ah, so that's why tube fares are set to increase again: the customer service! http://bit.ly/AW6Z6

  6. London Posse - October 16, 2009

    London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train … http://ow.ly/15Vjex

  7. OscarB - October 16, 2009

    RT @mobileindustry: London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  8. Ewan - October 16, 2009

    London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  9. Richard - October 16, 2009

    RT @Ew4n: London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  10. Ed Cave - October 16, 2009

    RT @Ew4n: London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train': http://ping.fm/q45RI

  11. Andy McKinna - October 16, 2009

    Ah, so that's why tube fares are set to increase again: the customer service! http://bit.ly/AW6Z6

  12. London Posse - October 16, 2009

    London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train … http://ow.ly/15Vjex

  13. David Hollonds - October 16, 2009

    London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train … http://bit.ly/3PdSJW

  14. David Hollonds - October 16, 2009

    London Underground chap threatens: 'sling him under a train … http://bit.ly/3PdSJW

  15. Gordon Tant - October 17, 2009

    "London Underground chap threatens: ’sling him under a train’" – http://is.gd/4ouCu

  16. Gordon Tant - October 18, 2009

    "London Underground chap threatens: ’sling him under a train’" – http://is.gd/4ouCu

  17. Martín Fernández - November 1, 2009

    http://bit.ly/31MJyR 100% periodismo ciudadano

  18. Martín Fernández - November 1, 2009

    http://bit.ly/31MJyR 100% periodismo ciudadano

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