Total dick tattles on fellow train rider eating burrito

Illustration for article titled Total dick tattles on fellow train rider eating burrito
Photo: Robert Llewellyn (Getty Images)

Move over, baseball, because America has a new national pastime: Filming public hall monitors and shaming their overzealousness on social media. On the heels of #PermitPatty comes a yet-to-be-hashtagged individual on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train in Oakland. According to the San Jose Mercury News, a bespectacled man in a Hawaiian shirt chastised a fellow train passenger for eating a burrito on board. And then he makes the asshole move of calling the train intercom to report a man “dining in the first car.”

We were discussing this story in our meeting today, and could synthesize what happened to a few key points: 1) The narc in the Hawaiian shirt overreacted and seems like a total dick, 2) Rules are rules, it does say you can’t eat on the train, 3) But maybe let the guy eat his burrito in peace?


The more interesting debate we had was this: If you’re riding on public transportation and there are clear signs about not eating while on board, what foods can you discreetly eat to circumvent this rule? (This coming off another popular discussion we had about foods you shouldn’t eat on an airplane.)

The Takeout staff agreed that you should avoid any foods requiring utensils, which removes seemingly innocuous items such as yogurt. Any item, wrapped in its packaging (such as a Starbucks paper sleeve) is fine—which means in this instance, a self-contained burrito is allowed. Hard-shelled tacos, however, are not. Anything emitting a smell, like a hard-boiled egg, is a flat no. Lipton’s instant chicken noodle in a cup is 10,000 percent not allowed.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


I stand with the narc here.

Point 1: People eating something like a burrito on public transportation is repulsive. You’re forcing everyone around to watch/listen/smell you mauling away on your food.

Point 2: The appropriate course of action here would be that if someone was bothered by the eating, and spoke up about how eating is not allowed, the guy eating should have stopped at that point. I suspect it’s a rule that’s more often honored in the breach, and so usually it wouldn’t be an issue. But if someone points it out then don’t just continue munching away.

Point 3:  All that being said, going to get the train conductor/police involved does seem an overreaction.  I would think just calling the guy out and calling him names would be enough.