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Sweet slumber interrupted

A young teen sits in in the aisle seat, an empty seat next to him. He is bent all the way over at the waist, his sweatshirt pulled up all the way over his head.

Sleeper He's fast asleep.

For many stops on a crowded southbound Red Line train car during the morning rush.

Sleeping blissfully, blocking the empty seat, with riders standing around him, apparently not wanting to make a scene and disturb him by waking him up.

Until a guy gets on at Addison. He's an old guy, kind of grizzled, with a scratchy beard and worn-out Cubs cap.

"HEY! Wake up!" The kid startles awake, hitting his head on the back of the seat in front of him as he rises. He slides over to make room for the brave guy, leans down and goes back to sleep.

The guy sits down and starts cackling to himself. Pretty soon four or five other passengers around him start laughing too.

I wanted to applaud.


Since I live almost at the end of an L line, I've often wondered what should be done about the sleepers. I've witnessed someone waking up, looking around, swearing and jumping off the train at the next stop--obviously they've missed their stop and have to backtrack. Sometimes I think we should wake them up for their own good, but I also don't want anyone screaming at me for waking them up.

I'm noticing the photo pool to the right has a picture of someone stretching their artsy converse and ripped pants across one seat to prop them up against a window


Kind of ironic that this picture is at the top when you wrote this article as if to say there's a condoning of the behavior of taking multiple seats at the same time as condemnation.

Let the sleeping people sleep. If they miss their stop a time or two, well, that's what happens every once in a while. Unless they're blocking a seat, like this kid, what right do you have to wake them up?

And, as far as the kid with the converse and ripped jeans in the picture, they're obviously in the hobo corner, meaning they're not taking up any seats other than their own..

It's not about my rights, Joe, I'm just wondering if it would be helpful for the sleeping person if they were awakened. I have a friend who went to sleep on a Metra train once and didn't wake up until hours later, in the barn, along on a dark train she couldn't get out of. Good thing she had her phone with her--she had to call 911 to get them to get Metra to open it up and let her out.

Unless you think I'm dead, I'd be pissed at you if you woke me up. (And if I'm already dead, what do I care if you even try.)

I'd rather get my rest, and ride back if I have to. Otherwise, I would have made sure I didn't fall asleep in the first place.

Cheryl, I call BS on your story. I'm 99.999% certain that Metra conductors MUST walk the train before shutting it down, and besides, wouldn't they have to be inside the car where she was sleeping to shut up everything and lock it up? What, did she fall asleep in the toilet?

Look, when I see someone sleeping on a train and they aren't in an aisle seat, I usually tap them on the shoulder. When they wake up, I do a Lex Luger flex at them and scream. Sometimes, instead I will give them the roar of the lion (making the facial gestures of a loud scream but not actually making any noise). In my experience, the Lex Luger flex works best.

I have no problems asking someone to move so that I can sit. I've gotten attitude a lot of times for saying, "Excuse me, can I sit there?" Most of the time it's not even that I desperately have to sit. I just hate to see people being rude and acting like the train is their living room. On Tuesday, I caught the Red Line home and there were a few people standing. However, there were four teenagers all taking up two seats each and having a really loud conversation. I think I messed up the flow of their conversation when I asked one of them to move his legs, but taking up all those seats at rush hour is really inconsiderate.

Sorry, Neal - it does happen. Just b/c a Metra conductor is SUPPOSED to check the cars, doesn't mean they do or do so well. It's happen to my husband too!

I don't have a problem believing that a Metra conductor has ever missed someone on a train.

But I do have a problem believing that anyone finds themselves locked in the train, or even locked in the barn. I'll buy a locked fence around the yard, but not that they locked the train so no one could escape.

Given the way fire and building codes read, it sounds like BS to me, too. Sixty, seventy years ago, maybe. In this day and age, no way.

do YOU know how to open the outer doors on a Metra train, Rusty? The ones where the conductor turns a key to get them open? I assume they close all the doors at night, so no one sneaking into the yard uses them as a bedroom -- I don't think I could figure out how to get out of one of those.

It happened to me. I woke up in the train yard with all the lights off and the doors locked! I couldn't believe it! I jumped out the emergency exit at the front of the train onto the train tracks just as another Metra train was going by. The conductor opened his window and told me I "shouldn't be on the tracks," like I didn't know that. He told me to get back on the train and they had to veer my train off of the main track as I waited for someone to come and open up the doors. I plugged up the whole Metra system for 20 minutes. It was awesome!!!

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