My Quiet Car Piece Goes Viral.

A few days ago the media and blogosphere were abuzz with news of Lakeysha Beard (aka “Cell Phone Lady”), the woman kicked off an Amtrak train because she refused to stop talking on her cell phone and became belligerent when asked to stop. According to reports, Ms. Beard, who was sitting on the train’s quiet car, was chatting on her phone for an incredible 16 hours – from California to Oregon – when fellow passengers finally confronted her. A verbal altercation ensued and the train made an unscheduled stop in Salem, ejecting Ms. Beard via a police escort. After the incident Ms Beard, who was charged with disorderly conduct, told reporters she felt “disrespected.”

In light of this amusing news piece, my quiet car blog entry (originally written in Dec 2010) was quoted in Yahoo News. This led to a whole bunch of other articles in which my piece was quoted in as well as some very interesting comments to the original blog post. Below is a sample:

From Yahoo News:

“The Internet is full of tales of innocent people’s quiet-car journeys being marred by loud passengers who ignore the rules. An Israeli blogger with a PhD in conflict resolution wrote a lengthy post about the best way to get a fellow passenger to shut up without starting World War III. “Always assume the transgressor is ignorant, not arrogant. This way you won’t feel wronged and can communicate your message with less contempt and hostility,” he suggests.”


‎”Roi Ben Yehuda posted a blog about the dispute resolution aspects of this case. Ben Yehuda is a regular “quiet car” rider and a P.h.D Candidate in Conflict Resolution at George Mason University who offers good advice about how to handle these situations.”


‎”A doctoral student in conflict resolution recently outlined some Quiet Car guidelines for tranquil travel. He suggested, first, that Amtrak conductors always take “a few seconds during ticketing to explain the rules of the quiet car,” and second, that fellow passengers give talkers the benefit of the doubt by assuming their ignorance of Quiet Car standards.”


“The Yahoo! article links to this post by a conflict-resolution specialist named Roi Ben-Yehuda, who has this to say about speaking up: “If he’s an ignorant passenger (unaware of the existence of the quiet car), he’ll most likely end his conversation, or simply move to another part of the train. If, on the other hand, he’s an arrogant passenger (one who is aware of where he is sitting but refuses to play by the rules) then he’s likely to respond in a less civilized manner.”


‎”The key to tackling bad behavior is to manage the story your telling yourself about the behavior. As Roi rightly points out, we tend to attribute other people’s negative behavior to their personality. I prefer to say, we make the person into a villain.”


4 responses to “My Quiet Car Piece Goes Viral.

  1. This is great Roi! Came to this via Margaret Atwood’s twitter.

  2. Thanks for summarizing the suggestions for dealing with a noisy passenger in a quiet car! It looks like the common theme is assume ignorance, and educate rather than reprimand. (That’s probably a lot easier to put into practice if you don’t suffer for 16 hours before saying something!)

  3. Yes! I used to get huffy and got huffy responses. Now I say ‘you probably don’t realise, but…’ and get apologies

  4. And that’s the reason why I don’t choose the quiet-car sections. I prefer sitting in the “normal” part, then since it’s allowed, it doesn’t disturb me. 🙂

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