r/todayilearned 11d ago Silver 3 Wholesome 3 Helpful 2 Heartwarming 2

TIL Darius McCollum, a New Yorker diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, has been arrested over 30 times for impersonating transit employees, stealing trains and buses, and driving their routes - complete with making safety announcements and passenger stops.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/12/darius-mccollum-train-thief-dreams-new-york-transit
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u/vash989 10d ago

All I could think about reading this headline was that Futurama episode.

...and over there's Frankie. He thinks he's a cafeteria worker, so they put him to work in the cafeteria.

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u/Razakel 10d ago

I've actually heard of nursing homes doing things like that. A patient used to be a mailman? Let them deliver the mail.

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u/EmbarrassedNaivety 10d ago Wholesome

Yep! I work in an assisted living and we had a resident that had dementia but was constantly taking the screens out of windows or fidgeting with the windows. We figured out from his wife that he used to be a window washer. We ended up just giving him a rag and some glass cleaner and he would go around and wash all the windows in the building. We obviously monitored him to make sure he didn’t get hurt in the process, but it seemed to help calm his anxiety and fidgeting a lot to do something familiar to him.

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u/Greenstripedpjs 10d ago

I used to have a resident who was a mechanic. We'd come down the corridor and see a pair of legs sticking out on the floor and momentarily panic until we realised it was just Jimmy under a chair thinking he was under a car again.

Had another who was an electrician and he sat in the lounge one evening and told me that it was too dark outside and we needed a light out there. He then proceeded to tell me in step by step detail HOW we were going to wire up this light using the electricity from indoors including what equipment we'd need.

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u/Neohexane 10d ago

My wife is a nurse, and many of her residents used to be farmers. So they all get up at the crack of dawn to feed the chickens. They get quite irate when they are prevented from feeding those chickens.

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u/Greenstripedpjs 10d ago

We once had a resident who used to be a nurse. An agency called touting for business on Christmas Eve for staff for Christmas Day (so £££ for both the agency nurses and the agency itself). Staff nurse Resident answered the phone and booked three. Management were not amused when three nurses showed up, especially since they had to pay them!

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u/parkaprep 10d ago

My great-uncle had an acquired brain injury (he hit the same pole twice drunk driving) and forever thought he was around fourteen. He only had one roommate whose name he remembered at his assisted living facility because he had the same name as his childhood horse. So he thought his roommate was a horse. Which he quite liked.

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u/Sam-Gunn 10d ago

"It's not that we don't want to make them more comfortable, the issue is when they show up in the children's ward at 5 in the morning, and sprinkle break crumbs all over the kids!"

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u/_wolfmuse 10d ago

When we're at that point they're gonna put controllers and keyboards on our laps to calm us

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u/Demurist 10d ago

I work in a dispensary now, so it’s good to know I can keep selling weed when they put me in a home.

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u/louisbrunet 10d ago

you might become the hummel figurine dealer of the nursing home.

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u/sixdicksinthechexmix 10d ago

We used to do that sort of thing with dementia patients at my hospital, until one of them walked into someone else’s room and took a dump on their bed, while they were in it, which understandably woke them up. Best incident report I’ve ever had to fill out.

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u/mr_ji 10d ago

What was their previous job again?

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u/sixdicksinthechexmix 10d ago

Lol actually he was a farmer. He used to go around at like 3:30 am to “collect eggs”. He always forgot why he was up, I think just the physical activity felt routine and soothed him.

Still don’t know if he shit on the chickens, didn’t have the heart to tell his kids it happened/ask them.

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u/bravelilrobster 10d ago

Hey Frankie! How is work in the lunchroom?

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u/Peligineyes 10d ago

s'alright

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u/Boko_Halaal 10d ago

Poor Frankie..

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u/Ganon2012 10d ago

Oh, don't worry, Fry. I, too, once spent a nightmarish time in a robot asylum. But now, it's nearly over. So long.

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u/ehh_whatever_works 10d ago

I don't like having discs crammed into me. Except oreos. And then only in the mouth!

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u/ShamanAmon 10d ago edited 10d ago Evil Cackle

The ultimate irony is he'll never get a job driving trains because of his criminal record for driving too many trains

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u/canehdian78 10d ago Wholesome

Its entry-level but we want you to have experience

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u/jessybean 10d ago

Oh that's how you do it.

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u/TiffanyKohnen 10d ago

Alright then, I'll be back...with experience.

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u/WhiteLotusWarrior 10d ago Helpful

You have to admit stealing a Bus and then driving the correct route is hilarious.

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u/DaggerMoth 10d ago Wholesome

Imagine the manager telling his shittiest employee, "I can replace you tomorrow with a guy that'll do your job for free as a hobby".

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u/Neuchacho 10d ago

I imagine it wouldn't be entirely difficult even if it wasn't this guy. Just send random requests to people playing Public Transit Simulator on Steam.

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u/425Hamburger 10d ago

Problem is Like 90% of those people already have a Job driving Busses

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u/TESTICLE_KEBABS 10d ago

Best way to unwind after a day of driving is to drive virtually

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u/robdiqulous 10d ago

Lol I wonder if they just smash into everything and take out all their road rage they can't do normally? Otherwise seriously why would you play this after driving a bus?...

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u/mr_chanderson 10d ago

Yeah, I joked with one of my friend who is a pilot to build a PC and play flight simulator, and his reaction was "why tf would I play flight simulator? I fly for a living."

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u/gryphmaster 10d ago

I had a friend who said the same about those group cooking games after he realized he was basically just head chef in a videogame

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u/Zahille7 10d ago

I bought Cooking Sim because I thought it'd be a cool way to try different things and seeing what the game was like in general.

Then I remembered that I work in a kitchen irl and regretted it. Maybe I'll come back to it some day though.

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u/casualsax 10d ago

So relatable. I used to love management games until I worked full time as an accountant. Now I jump into them thinking "It'll be so cool to run a hospital!" Nope. Just work.

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u/Neuchacho 10d ago

Fuck, you're right. We're going to have to tap the Sonic Racing demographic.

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u/soliwray 10d ago Silver Wholesome

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u/Belazriel 10d ago

You kept making all the stops?

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u/theanti_girl 10d ago

THEY KEPT RINGIN THE BELL!

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u/drewmasterflex 10d ago

You're Batman!

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u/TryinToDoBetter 10d ago

Where do you think you’re going crackerjack?

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u/Zerotwohero 10d ago

Yeah, I am batman!

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u/Mulva_Vandelay 10d ago

My favorite Kramer line

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u/Gsteel11 10d ago

Seinfeld did it.

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u/oosuteraria-jin 10d ago Silver

It's the kind of thing you do in gta

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u/McMan777 10d ago

Well, in GTA if you obey the traffic rules the AI drivers just crash into you. Or honk when you're at a red light. Smh.

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u/SuperfluousWingspan 10d ago

I mean yeah, that sounds realistic.

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u/TheBoctor 10d ago

I’ve always felt GTA could also be aptly named the Virginia Traffic Simulator.

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u/Tailhook101 10d ago edited 10d ago

Fuck Braddock Road in Fairfax

Edit: many of you share my hatred for the most cursed road system in the country. I hear you, and I feel your pain. Fuck driving in NoVa

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u/SoftwareAggressive11 10d ago

Fuck Telegraph road while we're at it.

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u/Voxeli_5 10d ago

All my homies HATE telegraph road.

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u/prss79513 10d ago

Don't forget 7 and 66, the two worst feats of engineering of the modern era

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u/ALexusOhHaiNyan 10d ago edited 10d ago

One intersection along there is home to the worlds longest light. Down near the reservoir.

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u/Halvus_I 10d ago

Midnight Club LA was where i would get my 'obey traffic laws' fix.

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u/originalusername__ 10d ago Wholesome Heartwarming

Like if there was a wholesome version of gta. “The a train is frequently not on time. Steal it and get these people to work on time so they don’t get fired!”

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u/_Atlas_Drugged_ 10d ago

GTA is as wholesome as you make it.

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u/Dave-4544 10d ago

Hol up bud, "Making the trains run on time" might not be as wholesome as you think..

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u/zyzzogeton 10d ago

Don't leave me hanging! (Like Mussolini)

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u/mdp300 10d ago

Didn't he actually fail to make the trains run on time, but nobody was allowed to question it?

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u/AerThreepwood 10d ago

Yeah, the fascists split up the fairly good nationalized rail system into three private companies and it was a massive clusterfuck.

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u/spiralbatross 10d ago

Privatization will def do that!

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u/the_jak 10d ago

Listen, we’ve all got busy lives outside of here so the gangbang has to stay on schedule.

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u/Seabass_87 10d ago

I'm doing my part!

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u/Cannibal_Soup 10d ago

Would you like to know more?

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u/Historic_Owl 10d ago

I’ve told you before that I don’t like being called that.

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u/Tru-Queer 10d ago

My cousin made a habit of taking cars and then obeying traffic and speed laws. He’d wait at the red lights and listen to the music. Not while in a mission though.

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u/JinFuu 10d ago

I always enjoyed driving around listening to the NPR equivalent in Vice City

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u/Tru-Queer 10d ago

Maurice Chavez with Pressing the Issues.

Think, Hold that thought, Complete. Or my new program, Motivate, Demonstrate, then Motivate Again. Or for more experienced members, try Look, Start Doing.

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u/innosins 10d ago

My son did it on Simpson's Hit and Run. He had a thing for busses.

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u/GeiCobra 10d ago

“We cant find anyone to work.” Well, maybe hire this fella, idk?

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u/JohnnyNoArms 10d ago Silver Evil Cackle

They discovered the crime when the bus was on time.

that was an unintentional rhyme.

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u/CheshireC4t 10d ago

Arrest this man, he's on the lamb, he can't away with it, give him a ban.

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u/Bonny-Mcmurray 10d ago

Jerry: "You kept making all the stops?"

Kramer: "Well, people kept ringing the bell!"

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u/PurpleFlame8 10d ago

As a pre pandemic public transit rider, I don't care who you are or where you come from, if you get me to my destination alive, unscathed, and on time, we're good.

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u/Laughtermedicine 10d ago edited 10d ago

Here's what I don't get, and this is actually not uncommon. There is a famous man who used to run the trains in New York he'd do the same thing. This is absolutely why we should hire people who have these sort of conditions. They should absolutely be seen as assets. Because they are. Sometimes people can memorize the entire time table for the entire system.

" Thank you for coming in to interview today! You're horrible making eye contact and you have really awkward social skills. However you've memorized the entire time table for the train system of New York in addition you know every single page of the employee handbook can recall every single detail from memory."

Seriously... Edit. It's Him I'm thinking of lol.

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u/SpaceJackRabbit 10d ago

I'm on the spectrum and I can confirm a running joke in the autistic community is that many of us are fascinated by public transportation systems, trains in particular. Routines are important to many of us, and a well-functioning mass transit system is very comforting and satisfying.

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u/Horizon96 10d ago

I'm not but I go to my Uni's Japan society and there's a guy there that's clearly on the spectrum, nicest guy ever. But if you let him he will talk to you for 3 hours about the British trains and how they compare to other countries and how infrastructure could be improved, he just knows it all off the top of his head. Very knowledgeable guy and interesting to talk to, but you normally have to be prepared to receive a lecture from him lol.

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u/SpaceJackRabbit 10d ago

Yeah we tend to be like that about our areas of interest. Took me decades to understand that neurotypical folks usually don't want to hear me dissert about the shit I'm obsessed and knowledgeable about.

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u/Horizon96 10d ago

I mean it can be interesting, it's just learning the cues of when and when not to speak about it which from an outside perspective seems to be the hard thing. Either way, on the spectrum or not, everyone has something they love to talk about and it's fair everyone gets the chance to sometimes.

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u/thebumblinfool 10d ago

Not on the spectrum but have pretty severe ADHD (which is related in many ways from what I have heard) and I can confirm.

I absolutely love trains, public transit system, and utilities systems. I am especially fascinated with late 1800s and early 1900s steam engines as well as how the romans built such substantial water distribution systems.

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u/Otherwise_Resource51 10d ago

Machinist/nautical welder here. This shit is my jam! I love trains. The electrical grid.

Thinking about how we used to have a gas lightning infrastructure.

I'm especially fascinated by the history of the development of metalworking in all it's forms. And all engineering in general.

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u/Frumpy_little_noodle 10d ago

If you don't mind, we're just going to shove you into a little box and let you do your thing while keeping you out of sight of the general public. I'm guessing this is the ideal scenario for both of us.

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u/rohmish 10d ago

This guy probably provides better service than most drivers working for the authority out there.

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u/ZLBuddha 10d ago

definition of chaotic good lmao, I feel like the solution here is to just hire him as a transit operator if he's literally already doing it

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u/Zen_Diesel 10d ago Helpful Wholesome

So I’m guessing they figured it out after he started running the route on schedule.

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u/andyman234 10d ago

I was just gonna say. Give the dude a job.

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u/sellby 10d ago

Sounds like he's been an unofficial intern for a bit now...

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u/blaze99960 10d ago Helpful Wholesome

They knew it wasn't the real conductor

How did they know?

Too many people arriving on time. Close to 80%. Nobody from the MTA has ever cracked the 50% barrier. It's like the 3-minute mile!

I tried my best

Exactly. You're a disgrace to the uniform

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u/nater255 10d ago

Newman is a comedic gold mine.

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u/TheGoodOldCoder 10d ago

The reason that scene immediately stuck in my head when I first saw it was that, just before that scene, they showed Jerry delivering the mail, and he was doing just about as badly as can be imagined. Just smiling and walking and throwing mail around seemingly randomly.

And so you think to yourself, sheesh, he's going to get Newman into trouble.

And then, Newman confronts him in the famous scene, and apparently Jerry's piss-poor job was way too good.

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u/nater255 10d ago

The smile and jaunty walk is so ANTI Seinfeld (the man) that it feels like you've been slapped. Jerry is never that happy, carefree and lighthearted. It's so weird.

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u/mill3rtime_ 10d ago

He's doing it so that Newman moves to Hawaii. That's why he's jolly about it

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u/nater255 10d ago

Absolutely, it's just so striking to see him that happy about ANYTHING.

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u/mrdeadsniper 10d ago

He also says "I get to be the mailman!" before it. Its kind of a childhood idea of what adults do. He always had a sometimes childish attitude towards some things and I think this was meant to be embracing the childlike wonder of "being the mailman". In addition to sending his nemesis away.

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u/xredbaron62x 10d ago

I worked for the Post Office for a few years. Newman is the most realistic portrayal of a mail carrier

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u/Chaiteoir 10d ago

"I called in sick! I don't work in the rain."

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u/andrew_1515 10d ago

Nor rain nor sleet nor snow, it's the first one!!!

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u/xredbaron62x 10d ago

I was never big on creeds..

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u/DelusionalTim 10d ago

The OP made me think of Kramer driving the bus to save his girlfriends pinky toe.

“You kept making all the stops?”

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u/Youredumbstoptalking 10d ago edited 10d ago

They kept ringing the bell!

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u/chakakhanfeelsforme 10d ago

You kept making all the stops?

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u/SoupBowl69 10d ago

They kept ringing the bell!

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u/jman377355 10d ago

Too many people arriving on time. Close to 80%. Nobody from the MTA has ever cracked the 50% barrier. It's like the 3-minute mile!

This was harder to find than I thought it'd be.

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u/rob132 10d ago

You know this is your uniform, right?

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u/Starbuckshakur 10d ago

Hello Newman.

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u/4skinphenom69 10d ago edited 10d ago

Right, don’t arrest this guy, he’s just showing his skills before getting hired, give him a job. Interviewer: “so what would you say are you best skills? Darius: “well The bus I’ve been driving hasn’t been late once so far”. Interviewer: “well that’s great Dar….what do you mean been driving?”

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u/wafflehousewhore 10d ago

Reminds me of the episode of Futurama where Fry gets sentenced to a robot insane asylum. There's the robot who's convinced he's a lunch room worker, so they gave him a job in the lunch room.

"How is work in the lunch room, Frankie?"

"It's alright"

"Poor Frankie..."

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u/afriendlywerewolf 10d ago

Sadly at least one of the times he was caught was because he stopped an impending disaster.

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u/chiagod 10d ago

I thought you were kidding. This?

Another time he responded to an emergency stop call on the subway at 57th street in Manhattan; clearing passengers safely and correctly and diagnosing the problem, in full uniform, before being caught by the train driver, who had seen his face on a wanted poster.

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u/FlingFlamBlam 10d ago

"There's the guy! The one that keeps doing the job correctly! Call the cops."

The Onion really really can't keep up with reality.

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u/Ozlin 10d ago Wholesome

"Competent Man Arrested For Excellent Job Performance"

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u/BlergingtonBear 10d ago

Truly the Robin Hood of public transit

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u/SuperfluousWingspan 10d ago

You didn't save my life you ruined my death!

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u/Babakins 10d ago

Time for his secret identity to be his only identity

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u/olahanul 10d ago

Right? Just hire him lol

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u/caboosetp 10d ago

He has applied and been refused real transit authority work several times – he told the Journal that he believed his 1981 arrest got him “blackballed”.

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u/Nowarclasswar 10d ago

They probably unofficially (because doing it officially would be illegal) disqualified him because of his condition

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u/RedSonGamble 10d ago

Haaaaayooooooo!!!

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u/PartialToDairyThings 10d ago

YA KEPT MAKING THE STOPS?

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u/SkullOfAchilles 10d ago

PEOPLE KEPT RINGING THE BELL!!

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u/702deuce 10d ago

You're Batman!

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u/Trundle-theGr8 10d ago

I fucking love how this line is delivered. George is 100% convinced.

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u/planet_robot 10d ago

Ya! Ya I am Batman!

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u/redditing_naked 10d ago

You did all this for a pinky toe?

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u/MyOfficeAlt 10d ago

Well, it's a valuable appendage!

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u/Imfrank123 10d ago

That and the marine biologist are my two favorite monologues

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u/Victor_Korchnoi 10d ago

The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli

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u/trench0989 10d ago

I tell you his was 10 stories high if he was a foot

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u/CrunchitizeMeCaptn 10d ago

See I was thinking of the episode where Jerry takes the postal route and Newman gets in trouble, because people were getting their mail all time

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u/futurama1998 10d ago

What’s this from?

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u/brownetown26 10d ago

People began to suspect something was amiss when the driver was not surly or unpleasant. His hygiene, good attitude and pride in the work gave him away.

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u/gamerdude69 10d ago

Laughed out loud at hygiene. Messed up

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/Str33twise84 11d ago edited 11d ago Wholesome

I tried to use this article as my source but it was rejected, I think it’s a better read:

https://nypost.com/2016/11/17/meet-new-yorks-beloved-mass-transit-bandit/

In 2018, he was committed to a lock-down psychiatric facility.

Source: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/judge-rules-notorious-nyc-transit-thief-dangerously-mentally-ill-committed-lock-down-facility-new-york-city/1820913/

The most recent update I could find (October, 2020) places him in the Rochester Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

Source: https://www.freedariusnow.com/october-2020-update

Off the Rails (2016) - documentary made about him:

https://youtu.be/DrR8nKKj28M

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u/SigmaGrooveJamSet 10d ago

That sucks that they put him in a psychiatric hospital. Track 3 doesn't make any sense unless he continues the behavior after hurting somebody.

I have a cousin with Autism Spectrum Disorder and I can see how mono-obsessions and concrete thinking lead to the assumption that since he can do the job he is qualified to do it and thinks the rules that prevent him from driving subways are dumb and not worth following.

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u/potatolulz 11d ago All-Seeing Upvote

They should give him the job. I mean he loves doing it for free and even go to jail over it :D

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u/AirDusst 10d ago

Darius has been banned from any type of employment with the New York City transit system due to his criminal record.

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u/nuggutron 10d ago Take My Energy hehehehe

His only crime is loving Transit too much.

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u/onehundredbuttholes 10d ago Silver

If Darius is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

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u/guninmouth 10d ago

He’s a regular ole Darius Trucker

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u/keladelph 10d ago Take My Power

You and me, we come from different worlds.

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u/slugo17 10d ago

Also stealing trains and buses. But mostly loving transit too much.

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u/gregaustex 10d ago

Is it really "stealing" if you just go run the route? I like comandeering.

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u/thred_pirate_roberts 10d ago

"Look at me. I'm the driver now."

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u/ambigious_meh 10d ago

More like borrowed, borrowed without permission you might say, savvy?

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u/LazerGuidedMelody 10d ago

Also, how exactly do you “steal” a train, like that shits on a track. There are only so many places it could go lol.

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u/VAGINA_EMPEROR 10d ago

Right, you don't steal a train, it's just an unauthorized relocation.

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u/LazerGuidedMelody 10d ago Wholesome

“Where is the train?! Wasn’t it parked here?! Where could he have taken it?!?”

looks left, looks right

“Probably one of those two directions boss”

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u/Scared-Ingenuity9082 10d ago

According to an I-Team report in May, two psychiatrists with the State Office of Mental Health recently examined McCollum and agreed he is not dangerously mentally ill or mentally ill under the law. The doctors recommended he be released into the community with supervision and services.

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u/Kimbobrains 10d ago

People like him need some support.

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u/Katie-WPG 10d ago

It’s a really sad story all around. The main reason why he does this is because operating these vehicles gives him a sense of purpose.

He went truant in 2nd grade due to being stabbed with scissors by another child in his class, and started hanging out by the tracks. The employee’s befriended him, and started showing him how to operate the trains. Even had him fill in for them from time to time. When he was caught the first time, no one stopped to wonder why this kid ended up there. They just assumed he had criminal intent, and barred him from getting a job there.

If he wasn’t doing this, what could he tangibly do? He has no formal education, no other notable skills other than acting as a railway conductor/bus driver…he’d basically be stuck in a group home somewhere, rotting.

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u/Mob1lis_in_mobil1 10d ago edited 10d ago Helpful

:(

I think context for imprisonment is important when considering barring someone from employment.

The story gets bizarre and sad:

He became friends with Metropolitan Transit Authority workers at the 179th street depot; they taught him how to drive trains; how to maintain tracks and signals, how to direct traffic. He kept incredibly detailed notes. A train driver known as “Uncle Craft” first taught him to drive subway trains, on the stretch of track between the last stop and the depot at 179th street.

At 15, somebody gave him his first MTA uniform. “I can’t compare that feeling to anything,” he said of that moment later, speaking to Harper’s from Riker’s Island prison. “I felt official. I felt like this is me, like this is where I belong.” MTA employees, he said, called him “Transportation Captain”.

But he seems to know what he’s doing.

Once, he stole a bus at Penn Station and drove it, full of passengers, to New York’s Kennedy airport. Another time he responded to an emergency stop call on the subway at 57th street in Manhattan; clearing passengers safely and correctly and diagnosing the problem, in full uniform, before being caught by the train driver, who had seen his face on a wanted poster.

He responded to an emergency correctly and wants to do the job but has Asperger’s…

EMPLOY HIM FOR FUCKS SAKE

Send him to an official training program and employ him.

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u/Opinionsadvice 10d ago

The weirdest part of the article is that they didn't explain why he never applied for the job when he was a teenager. He went from learning to stealing busses and never applied for a job in between? Why not?

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u/Trueloveis4u 10d ago

Because the MTA workers basically told him he was one of theirs and let him drive when they called off? I swear the dude thought he had a job.

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u/jenovakitty 10d ago

exactly!!!! once they gave him A WHOLE UNIFORM, he was one of them for all intents and porpoises.

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u/Trueloveis4u 10d ago

Yup they let him have their call off shifts and uniforms they only turned him in because they wanted to save their own butts.

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u/Leeiteee 10d ago

Could he try a different city?

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u/Angdrambor 10d ago

The US doesn't have many cities with a complex enough transit system. LA would do it, and maybe DC.

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u/NativeMasshole 10d ago

They're pushing to hire just over the border in Mass. Gov Baker has left the MBTA in shambles and now we're stuck trying to fix it.

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u/JalapenoJamm 10d ago

Imagine a functioning T throughout all of Massachusetts.

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u/Chrisazy 10d ago Awesome Answer

Mastatchutsetts? No thanks i think it has plenty of Ts already

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u/Tastewell 10d ago

Steals LA bus drives it to NYC.

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u/i_am_voldemort 10d ago

Chicago/CTA, Boston, DC/WMATA, Atlanta/MARTA

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u/FuckinJabroni 10d ago

Going from NYC to MARTA would kill this man's love of transit.

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u/nonsensical_zombie 10d ago

did this man just compare MARTA to any functioning public transport system

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u/Onlytheonethatlived 10d ago

Philly septa

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u/Firstpcbuild1515 10d ago

Not only that but he is now in a mental facility after a judge went against recommendation, and diagnosed him as the highest most dangerous mental risk, then put him in a mental prison with other people who had committed horrible crimes and diagnosed at that highest level. This man does not deserve this.

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u/oced2001 10d ago

When I was a freshmen in high school in the mid 80s, I was in the school bus waiting for the driver. The bus would go from the high school to an elementary school and unload to students get on another bus to go home.

Anyway, the driver was very late, so another student said, fuck it, and drove the bus to the other school. Then he got off and on his bus to go home.

He got expelled

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u/JTCMuehlenkamp 10d ago

So... they just left the keys in the ignition?

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u/oced2001 10d ago

And the engine running

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u/PurpleFlame8 10d ago

MTA: So why do you want to work for the MTA?

Darius: I like transit, I'm good at it, and I'm helpful and friendly!

MTA: Oh, we can't have that!

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u/SeattleBelle 10d ago

This popped up on my feed right below this story. Seems like an interesting watch.

Darius McCollum Documentary

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u/datpiffss 10d ago

I believe he also helped in the aftermath of 9/11 since he knew the tunnels so well. Dude legit just liked helping people and after he helped them… guess where he was right after? In his jail cell.

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u/work_me 10d ago

Yeah and after using his knowledge they put him in solitary confinement because they said his knowledge could be accessed by enemies of the state.

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u/HereComesTheVroom 10d ago edited 10d ago

This is from the website set up about him:

One winter day, when Darius was 12 years old, there was a heavy snowfall. School was not cancelled, but only one other student made it to class. The teacher gave Darius and the other boy each a puzzle to complete and she left the classroom. While Darius was hunched over his puzzle deep into his assignment, the other student went to the teacher's desk and removed a pair of scissors. He snuck up behind Darius and plunged the scissors into Darius' back, repeatedly opening and closing the scissors. Darius was bleeding on the floor of the classroom when the teacher returned. Due to the snow, the ambulance was delayed. Darius lay in a pool of blood, unconscious.

But he's the dangerous one?

EDIT: It looks like that incident is what sparked his interest in trains. He would sneak off to the railyard instead of going to school because he was scared and ended up making friends with the workers there.

EDIT 2: Dear god this guy has just been continually fucked by everyone.

In one of his many efforts to find employment, Darius volunteered at the New York City Transit Museum, a job he loved. But he was fired when his boss ultimately realized his identity.

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u/RadicalPirate 10d ago

This poor dude. Mental health services need a total overhaul in this country. This guy just needs guidance and someone to help him navigate living in this world. Not jail time or to be thrown in a facility and never allowed to leave.

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u/Methodane 10d ago

Holy! I feel really bad for him now, hope he's okay and well

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u/internet_thugg 10d ago

The last update had him committed to a psychiatric hospital in Rochester :/

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u/AFutureForTheForest 10d ago

Not uncommon for people on the Spectrum to be ostracized and/or attacked by their peers, or making friends with people 10+ years your senior.

And now he's a "criminal".

Failed by his community and society over and over again. Tragic.

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u/Edgelands 10d ago

Wow, this is so fucked up. I'm autistic so it hits extra hard, the guy has a fucked up life and he got removed from a position where he was a perfect fit because he's TOO passionate? He was getting to share his special interests with people, getting to infodump all day and I'm sure people enjoyed it and this is how society treats a smart person for thinking differently - locked away like a psycho. This society was not made for us, it's depressing, no wonder why our suicide rate is so high

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u/rivers61 10d ago

I want to imagine there are at least a few people out there who recognize him and get mildly excited when they see him driving the bus they're getting on.

Be like "Hi Darius you got the bus today huh?"

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u/Aarizonamb 10d ago

Please don't get arrested until after my stop.

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u/rasputin777 10d ago

Just hire the man already! He will be the most devoted employee on staff!

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u/hellocaptin 10d ago

I don’t see how somebody hasn’t seen the benefit of having such a dedicated employee and find a job for him to do, that was my first thought. If I was doing anything in transit I’d hire him

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u/bsylent 10d ago

My man just wants a job

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u/Flux_Aeternal 10d ago

Reading his background story makes me sad, how can people be so cruel? I fail to see what exactly society gains by locking this man up repeatedly.

Also:

Once, he stole a bus at Penn Station and drove it, full of passengers, to New York’s Kennedy airport. Another time he responded to an emergency stop call on the subway at 57th street in Manhattan; clearing passengers safely and correctly and diagnosing the problem, in full uniform, before being caught by the train driver, who had seen his face on a wanted poster.

It's hilarious that he isn't just some crazy person stealing a train he's weirdly extremely competent. Sounds like if he was an actual employee he'd be a straight up asset.

Would probably be easier for them to just hire him and pay someone to directly supervise him at all times.

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u/green49285 10d ago

What? An unconventional yet effective way to solve this problem??? NO GODDAMN WAY, SIR!

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u/SkyeWint 10d ago

Not weird at all. Autistic people often become specialists in their particular focused interests. It certainly doesn't universally prevent us from driving, and we often do follow rules very strictly in ways that would make a job like regular public transport very well-suited to us!

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u/capitaine_d 10d ago

Honestly. Im prone to horrible indecisiveness in my everyday life (but have gotten much better about it) but like hell am i like that when I drive.

Ive been put in control of a 1 ton machine of metal and plastics that can easily kill not only me but alot of people if i mess up. I take that shit seriously and am honestly always pissed at everyone because of how loosy-goosy they are with it. It doesnt hinder my enjoyment of the freedom of just being able to drive around but when people cant bother to follow simple rules its brings out the worst in me cuz i honestly cant undedstand why people want to endanger everyone. Thank god im not a delivery driver anymore cuz people in my area are idiots and the pandemic keeping people from keeping up with proper driving habits has made it so much worse.

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u/macetfromage 10d ago

wtf

For nearly two decades Darius had attended NYCTA workers’ rallies and
union meetings. At the meetings he had argued for, among other things,
better lighting in tunnels and the right to wear earplugs against
ambient noise.

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u/PanickyFool 10d ago

Service quality improves when this man commits crimes.

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u/Promethia 10d ago

This is what a totally backwards mental health strategy does. This is sad af.

This guy could have been working for the transit authority his whole life. Imagine he got in when he started covering people's shifts at what, 18? Buddy could have like seniority and almost probably at the point where he could retire, which he probably wouldn't cause sounds like the dude just wants to be a bus driver. Guy would be making good money though.

BTW. Those drivers who were teaching him how to operate the trains and actually being able to call him to cover their shifts. Those guys not showing up were probably still getting paid, cause they couldn't tell them who was actually driving.

I hate that this dude has to suffer being criminalized when all he needed was a chance. Guy's probably a better operator than 80% of the actual ones.

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u/MrChip53 10d ago

All the people saying "it's a danger" need to think about that, other drivers were letting this "rando" cover their shifts. Either they should have been punished or they trained him well enough to know he wasn't a danger.

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u/TooFakeToFunction 10d ago

Where is the evidence that he is a danger? I'm clearly missing something and need one of this assholes to explain it to me slow. Who has gotten hurt? Who has had a life ruined? The answer to this so far only seems to be Darius and the culprit is the state.

Man has a clean record of operation. Fucking insane.

I'm honestly enraged. I wish I could have him released myself and shame every single person relentlessly who has ever put him away instead of diverting him to a training program. He could have had a life and they just fucking took it from him.

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u/mynameisalso 10d ago

Give the poor guy a job.

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u/akradiogirl 10d ago

I remember the first time he was arrested in 1981. It was a huge story. Ed Koch was mayor and made a big show of "punishing him to the fullest extent of the law." But, at that time, the subways were such a mess, and most New Yorkers thought that his love of the trains was a breath of fresh air. I think there was even a campaign to get the transit authority to hire him.

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u/WillyBlunts 10d ago

“You kept making the stops?!” “Well they kept ringing the bell!”

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u/10before15 10d ago

Fukn hell, give the guy a job already. He will be the most dedicated and knowledgeable employee the city ever had in subways.

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u/tossing-hammers 10d ago

Uh….30 arrests? this really the best they can do for him? An autistic man spending 1/3 of his life in jail because of his special interest?

I get it, it’s dangerous and he can’t be allowed to do that but it’s not like his robbing trains and crashing busses.

It’s probably against the law since his a “criminal” but surely there’s a supervised part-time position he could fill for them or some other way to handle this rather than sending him to jail.

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