Submitted by visit_magrathea t3_10ofh9q in tifu

This happened yesterday in NYC. I took the A train uptown from 59th St as I always do coming home from work. It was relatively busy for a Saturday and there were lots of folks on the platform and already on the train. So, when the car the pulled up closest to me (in the middle of the train) was nearly empty, I was pretty stoked to get a seat.

Stepping onto the car, I noticed all of the windows were open, which is weird for a cold January day. Then, as the doors closed behind me, I smelled it. I imagine it would have hit me sooner, but masks delay these things I guess. The smell was a putrid mix of primarily urine with notes of vomit and a distinct fecal finish. “Oh no,” I thought.

My eyes dart around the car to find the source of this olfactory abomination. The first thing I find is one of the benches has been… used. This long seat was defiled. It, and the floor around it, were covered in what was unmistakably bodily, but not immediately specifically identifiable. The smell is making me wretch in my mask.

I find a seat. I realize that I am now trapped in this car on the long stretch on the express like between 59th and 125th. That’s when I notice the man who without a doubt was responsible for the state of the car. He is drunk and unshowered. He is stumbling (dancing) to music only he can hear around the car. Stomping through his own mess and tracking it throughout the car. By some feat of gravity defiance, the man does not fall over when the train lurches to the side.

I am not completely alone on the train with this man. There are others who made the mistake of getting on this empty car on a packed train. We were all greedy, foolhardy. 125th approaches. I weigh my options: I can leave this car and run to another. There’s a small chance I don’t make it to the other car and miss the train. There’s a large chance I don’t get a seat. The alternative is me quite possibly being alone in this car on my way to Dyckman/200th. The man is now banging on the windows. I decide to risk it.

I dart out the door as soon as it opens and one of my fellow passengers has made a similar choice to me. Two people on the platform attempt to get into the car. We tell them they don’t want it. We tell them not to. They do not listen. Me and my new compatriot make it onto the next car on the train, now without seats but considerably more comfortable. We laugh when we realize why we’ve moved cars. We are brothers.

145th St comes. The two people we told not to go on that cursed car now enter our car. They avoid eye contact with my friend and I. We tried to warn them; they, as greedy as we once were, saw the promise of an empty car on a busy train and took it. But everything in life has its cost, and they realized that empty car was indeed empty for a reason.

We all learned something on this day.

TL;DR Got on a subway car that was empty for a reason. Didn’t realize until too late.



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Ladydi-bds t1_j6edr1x wrote

You did try to warn them. Sorry that happened and sounds utterly disgusting.


Hero_Select t1_j6fphwi wrote

This happens often in NYC. Especially to someone who has to commute back from work late at night and it is repulsive and I hate it.


fuqdisshite t1_j6fu9da wrote

in Vail there is an awesome public transportation system, parts of it free, all of it affordable. the Puke Bus is fucking nasty. normally busses go down valley at least once an hour but certain shoulder seasons they change the schedule.

i ended up getting on the Puke Bus one night and had the the second to last stop. ie was wasted too but sober enough to get to the bus and seated in the back where it was empty. about five minutes in we are climbing a hill and a wave of piss and vomit comes sloshing back all over my shoes. so fucking gross.


visit_magrathea OP t1_j6fvdey wrote

Sounds like college. My campus had a bus system and my buddy after a night of drinking puked on the floor at the front of the bus. Right after, the bus started moving and the puke made its way to the back of the bus. You could hear people saying “what the fuck” in a wave all the way to the back.


fuqdisshite t1_j6fz4dz wrote

exactly that.

the best part of having the second to last stop is if you forget to get off the bus (fall asleep) you were forced off at the last stop and had to wait until 5a for the next bus. a kid died from this a few months after i had to do it once. they made it illegal to force someone off the bus like that.


dominus_aranearum t1_j6gyk2s wrote

You'd figure they'd elevate the floor a few inches with a grate or down a few inches with a pan to catch it all. Vile.


FourthWorldProblem t1_j6eoiid wrote

This happened to me in London. I was late for my train and came running down to the platform mere seconds before the due departure time. I forgot I was in the UK and therefore still had plenty of time. Straight away I saw an empty carriage. I knew it was to good to be true, but couldn't help myself. Sure enough, some poor barstard had lost the battle with a large surge of diarrhoea and it covered about a third of the floor. I took a chance and switched carriages. Then watched through the windows as my manouvre was repeated by every other person.


Titariia t1_j6h09hp wrote

Where is security in those situations? And is it normal that carriages aren't connected so you can switch themon the inside?


flapadar_ t1_j6h12c5 wrote

In the UK generally the carriages are connected and you can walk right through when the train is moving.

There's usually at least one member of staff who can then contact the British transport police about any problems, who will meet the train at the next station.


FourthWorldProblem t1_j6jsc3h wrote

In my case, the carriage was the last one on the train and the sea of poo was right next to the internal door. I imagine that this incident had only just happened and the company hadn't had time to deal with it yet.


Protocol117 t1_j6hkorq wrote

Lol I mean..America, the land of rugged individualism. It's basically lawless.


Liberal-Patriot t1_j6hw2sb wrote

NYC is hardly the place I'd use as an example of rugged individualism or outright lawlessness. It's the most heavily regulated and surveiled city in the country with the largest Police force in the country.


Irradiatedspoon t1_j6ii6dq wrote

And yet it still has the most superheroes out of any city in the US, hmmm?


Liberal-Patriot t1_j6j2iai wrote

Because despite all the laws, crime is still bad. It's not a poster child for lawlessness, but it is often a poster child of mismanagement.


CalamackW t1_j6jqsz4 wrote

I'm not sure where you get the idea that crime is that bad in NYC. In the US it ranks 80th for murder rate 59th for overall violent crime rate among cities.


ThatOneGuy308 t1_j6j6l2q wrote

Honestly, I doubt any amount of management could solve the crime issue. Pack that many disparate groups of people on top of one another and it's pretty much guaranteed to happen, lol


TheBklynGuy t1_j6f2l29 wrote

Always avoid an empty car. Also be weary if you see several passangers walking between cars to get into yours. Trouble may follow them.


lunelily t1_j6g0snq wrote

In case you mind about spelling:

  • Weary = >!tired, exhausted, run-down!<
  • >!Wary = alert, cautious!<

Cognac_and_swishers t1_j6gdsz8 wrote

I think a lot of people get "leery" (which is a synonym of "wary") mixed up with "weary."


Budewfloon t1_j6gp6rp wrote

Not super related but so many posts on here mix up "balling" and "bawling", using the former to describe crying. Makes me laugh a little every time I read it though.


clandestinebirch t1_j6gdxz8 wrote

Someone once said to me that nothing good ever comes out of the door to the next car - I’ve found it to be a very true statement


justforfun75 t1_j6fjo3j wrote

This is NYC Subway 101: never enter an empty car when the others are full. There's a reason it's empty!


somebrookdlyn t1_j6g9ssz wrote

I get anxiety when I'm on a suspiciously empty subway cars.


lostboy411 t1_j6gl3fi wrote

I always feel better in NYC if there’s a moderate amount of people around. I feel like the bad stuff happens when it’s you and just like one or two other people.


Gr00mpa t1_j6gyzzx wrote

Absolutely NYC subway 101. Made for a good Reddit post, though. Thanks for sharing. Brought back good dancing memories.


BouncingDancer t1_j6k4p51 wrote

You can shorten it to Subway 101 - something similar happened to me in Prague.


iIIegally_blonde t1_j6f2l5o wrote

Never get on the empty car when the train is otherwise crowded


exscapegoat t1_j6fkovp wrote

Yes, at best, it’s no Ac in the summer. At worst, it’s a sonata of stench and/or a threat to your safety


full_bl33d t1_j6hv6r4 wrote

A friend and I came across one early morning commute in bk. We both knew not to take the bait but he was too curious. He went in real quick and came flying back out. He didn’t want to talk about it but we were laughing. Never take the bait


CalvinSays t1_j6eqjk2 wrote

Happened to me in Chicago, though sadder. The culprit was a homeless person with what looked like a open, rotting wound on their leg. It smelled like a corpse in there.


Secretss t1_j6fso6n wrote

I’ve learned that people respond a lot better to explanations than to instructions. If they had been given a reason to avoid that empty car “this car stinks!” or “drunk dude shat his pants in there” they may have listened better than being told what to do “don’t go in there” or “you don’t want this”.

Giving the reason nips 2 things in the bud straight away: makes it not an instruction, and removes the curiousity.

Tangential to this, more parents should learn to start providing reasonings/explanations behind their directives.


DMala t1_j6ge21p wrote

I don’t disagree with the parenting thing, but it has a finite amount of value. Toddlers and young children are inherently illogical and irrational creatures. It’s great to explain why you want to them to do something, but you have to know when to put your foot down and pull rank. Listening to a grown-ass person arguing with a toddler and losing is pretty sad.


Ghostglitch07 t1_j6ggafr wrote

Personally I got "because I said so" reasons up until I moved out. Sure, giving the reason isn't always the way to go with a young child, but by the time they are a preteen reasons are invaluable. Shows some amount of respect for them as an individual, makes arguments less likely, and provides actual knowledge they can use later rather than just "ive been doing my laundry this way for fifty years and I still don't know why"


everyothernamegone t1_j6f7bot wrote

It is always empty for a reason and that reason is never good.


Andreas_NYC t1_j6fup7g wrote

New to the city?


visit_magrathea OP t1_j6fv1bl wrote

I grew up in NJ and was a commuter until 2 years ago, when I moved to town. Honestly surprised something like this didn’t happen to me sooner but here we are. Lesson learned. I feel like it’s a rite of passage.


Andreas_NYC t1_j6fvibp wrote

It's a lesson we all learn - unfortunately first hand for some of us.


gabehcuod37 t1_j6fi12v wrote

Can you not walk between cars anymore?


OptionalCookie t1_j6ftsk4 wrote

For the R46 which is the main A train model and the R68 and R68A which are found on the B and D...

The cars are 75 ft, so when it goes around a curve, you can be thrown off the train and we don't do curves gently.

So the doors are locked.

I remember the last few months of 2021 and 2020 were just people getting run over by trains after they fell in between cars.


visit_magrathea OP t1_j6fvk2n wrote

Yeah I remember those stories. A big reason I’ll never hop cars on a train unless someone is trying to stab me or something.


OptionalCookie t1_j6fxrr3 wrote

When I was a conductor, and the A/C was still running R32 and the J was still running R42 (I'm not that old 🥺... I got that job when I was like 25 😭) you used to have to walk between cars to get to the control panel on the other side.

Mind you, I had to do this rain or snow. And the trains had holes in the operating positions to the point where you could see outside. Going from Howard Beach to Broad Channel those old rickety tin cans was not fun.

There are hand holds between cars to hold on to to make sure you don't slip or fall. Keep three points on contact, and you'll be fine. Secure all your items to you.

But if you feel dizzy, don't do it.


ThatOneGuy308 t1_j6j75fb wrote

To be honest, you probably have a better chance of surviving the stab wound than being ran over by the train, lol


exscapegoat t1_j6fkxlu wrote

ETA to correct a word. Since I don’t use cats for transportation

I think they started locking the doors so people don’t fall in between cars


Lucycrash t1_j6fv4p0 wrote

Things like this post is probably another reason lol.


exscapegoat t1_j6g0h70 wrote

Once a guy was pleasuring himself on a nearly empty car. Fortunately, doors were still unlocked so I went to the next car


JohnnyFootballStar t1_j6fo1jh wrote

I learned that my first month living in NYC. Empty cars are empty for a reason.


kss5 t1_j6fuduk wrote

This is a lesson every New Yorker learns eventually. In the summer, an empty car usually means no AC as well plus all of the above.


newbytony t1_j6g22mw wrote

I made the mistake of holding on to the rails/hanging grips when I lived there. It took 4 years for a weird growth in my hand to go away. Thanks NYC subways.


whine-0 t1_j6g6s9a wrote

This is a lesson every New Yorker learns either the easy way (using their brain) or the hard way (you). But 59th to 125th has got to be the longest stop in the city, definitely in Manhattan. Absolutely a brutal one to learn on hahahah


farrenkm t1_j6f30m0 wrote

My wife, my college-ager, their friend, and I were all headed eastbound, about 9:00 PM, on Interstate 84 in Portland, Oregon, a few months back. We were at about 60th Avenue. The light rail line parallels the interstate and has a stop at 60th. There was a train approaching the station, and we noticed there was a guy at the front of the train, just outside the operator cab, buck-ass naked. There were other people in that car, apparently ignoring him, or he'd just started and they didn't have a chance to move. Regardless, I was so grateful I wasn't on there.


NewRCTID22 t1_j6g1p62 wrote

Sounds like par for the course on the MAX tbh


farrenkm t1_j6gfkpy wrote

Oh definitely. I took MAX for around 17 years-ish. Never saw a naked person that I recall, but certainly saw things I never wanted to. Lesser of many evils, though. We were a one-car household and my wife needed it. Pandemic, now WFH, don't need to Trimet any more unless it's absolutely 100% the only way to get where I need to go. I think I've used it once.


myaltaltaltacct t1_j6fh947 wrote

Updoot for writing style (though the story was worth it, too).


monkeyhind t1_j6evhw1 wrote

Been there and even posted on Reddit about it once. I think the thread was titled something like "What's the worse thing you've ever smelled?"


RandomUser808 t1_j6fz2h3 wrote

A true NY subway vet knows to NEVER enter the car with no people. There’s always a reason. Always


Operator51134 t1_j6fz512 wrote

Ah NYC transit. Never a dull moment. Once saw a woman pop a squat inbetween two train cars. A few seconds later, liquid was spilling into our car. Her piss was literally flowing back into the train car and people were side stepping it real quick.

She was drunk.


Sealas t1_j6fqtg5 wrote

Over time you learn that if a subway car is empty, it is for good reason and should be avoided haha.


Jacktheforkie t1_j6gj2gw wrote

I clean trains. It it smells like lemon then someone has previously expelled something in there and it’s been cleaned


broyoyoyoyo t1_j6ew49h wrote

TIL there are doors between cars on the NYC subway, which was lucky for everyone else but unlucky for you.


dissgustingg t1_j6fr2ni wrote

Wish Reddit still gave free awards bc this deserves one


cascadianpeaks t1_j6g1jas wrote

Same thing happened to me a month ago. It's 8am, trains are incredibly crowded as everyone heads to work. One car is nearly empty, my partner and I get on, excited to be able to sit. The smell hits instantly. Honestly I would have rather it smelled like feces and urine. It was the worst smell I've experienced in my life, I don't know what it was or how to explain it. There's a filthy woman sitting in the train. She's yelling sexual and racist taunts at the few other passengers. She lifts her legs and spreads them wide and says more vile sexual stuff, then proceeds to shit her jeans. Then, as she rants, she takes her shirt off. This all happened in the 30 seconds it took to get to the next station. We flee to another train car, two other passengers come with us.

By the third stop, someone has pushed the emergency button. Cops get on the platform, the woman runs through the doors between cars (not really supposed to use them but sketchier folk use them frequently) onto the car I am in. She's telling people not to tell them she's there, she's hiding etc. The train is stopped for several minutes as they find her and chase her off the train. She runs away, we see her standing on the opposite platform as we depart the station.


atomicon t1_j6gcj8j wrote

Ugh, I had the same thing happen once, as a tourist. Walked into a subway car with my buddy thinking "look how dumb everyone else is, this car is practically empty!" Doors close, train starts moving, and the stench hits. There's a very dirty homeless fellow at one end of the car with feces sliding down his leg. I could see it at his ankle because his pants were ripped open. Got off and changed cars asap.


beansandneedles t1_j6fv76z wrote

I‘ve learned that same lesson that same way. Never, ever get into the empty car.


gellenburg t1_j6g564u wrote

Can't you not move from one car to another on NY subway cars? That seems like a huge safety issue if you can't.


visit_magrathea OP t1_j6gne6w wrote

More of a a safety issue if you do. People were falling off the trains while crossing between cars.


ProudHealth4317 t1_j6go3e4 wrote

you can but only on some trains. the A train uses a model that has locked doors bc the the car is 75ft long and has sharp turns. it's a big safety risk.


phargoh t1_j6gugwd wrote

Experienced something like this on the subway in Toronto. The homeless guy the smell came from looked like he was dipped in rotten grease. And the smell was even worse. He literally smelled like shit but amped up to a degree you have never experienced. I can't describe it any other way.


Redbird9346 t1_j6gz64a wrote

Never attempt to board an empty subway car when the others are full.

Consider this a lesson learned the hard way.


clever-username3 t1_j6fdojk wrote

"Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."


Pushmonk t1_j6fu6mw wrote

I enjoyed this tale, and the way in which it was told. Thank you.


merdub t1_j6gl9zh wrote

The night bus going up Yonge Street from downtown all the way out to the suburbs in Toronto is affectionately known as “The Vomit Comet” because it’s always full of wasted people heading home at the end of the night.

Thankfully I never experienced any vomit situations while riding it.

Did find a pile of used syringes on the floor at the back of the Queen streetcar once though.


LightningGoats t1_j6jd3ua wrote

I get people not being able to wait till a stop to vomit. But once I experienced the most absurd public transit vomiting episode ever: The tram stopped at a (duh) stop, and the doors opened. A man stopped at the opening, and vommited a huge load into the car. Like, he could have literally turned his head and vommited outside. Then he enters, sloshing through the vomit, leaving vomit-y footprints all the way.


Donebrach t1_j6gxk5d wrote

Cant you just open the doors between cars and shuffle along?


SneakyDogFriend t1_j6h6p0a wrote

1st time in NYC 2018 it happened to us. Pre warned before we travelled never to get on an empty car. Didn't listen. Trapped in a sealed shit box for a few stops was a real welcome to the real world moment for a Kiwi traveler.


Mr_Horizon t1_j6kv3ap wrote

Your TL;DR isn't working, it's for a summary not for clickbait.


internethunnie t1_j6frn8x wrote

dont be scared to move cars while the train is moving! its relatively easy to do


chief_scorpio t1_j6fxisl wrote

Well narrated OP, take your like and a reward as exchange for the humorous post.


BirthdayCarFire t1_j6fz1cc wrote

How long have you lived in NYC? This is an obvious, not even unspoken, rule that all residents know.


r0botdevil t1_j6gcyfq wrote

This story is the epitome of "if something seems to good to be true, it probably is".


StardustDestroyer t1_j6ghokm wrote

You must've moved to NYC recently. I've also never had an issue moving to the next car at stops, plenty of time.


joelham01 t1_j6gimv7 wrote

Reminds me of when my girlfriend and I went to Toronto and decided to take the subway with our suitcases. As we're running down the stairs my eyes see my girlfriends foot just stepping over the largest human shit I've ever seen. She missed it by an inch and I think about it almost every day


JollyStoner t1_j6gnevs wrote

Rookie mistake, there's always someone pissing or shitting on those empty cars.


jon-chin t1_j6h7xfp wrote

welcome to NYC!


EyeGod t1_j6h8hb3 wrote

Hang on… are masks still mandated in NYC?


star86 t1_j6hjyn4 wrote

We have the same rule in SF: do not get on the empty car, it’s empty for a reason. It’s incredible how disgusting a human can smell, one of the worst smells.


kyle_bautista t1_j6hkryp wrote



AlsoNotTheMamma t1_j6hlnuo wrote

If an opportunity seems too good to be true, it usually is.


santathe1 t1_j6hqyki wrote

What a shitty experience :/


bydo1492 t1_j6hrxfw wrote

Subway Stories: Subway Car From Hell.


RawWulf t1_j6humjf wrote

Never ride in the “empty” car.


rakanishusmom t1_j6hvbkr wrote

I grew up in Moscow and from a very early age learned that you never get into an empty subway car when it’s busy. There is always a reason it is empty. Sorry this happened to you.


chuchofreeman t1_j6i0d3g wrote

Hahahah, something similar happened to me a time ago. I was waiting for a tram in one of the busiest parts of town and when it arrived one section of it was empty and the rest completely packed. Of course, because of some odour, it was a homeless man that smelled like fermented shit, piss and alcohol combined. Did the same as you and moved to the next section, trams here are connected so no need to get off it to change.


lovelysoul711 t1_j6i0mpv wrote

And this is why I will forever live in the sticks. Fuuuck the city!!!! Any city!


cashisking007 t1_j6i6k83 wrote

Native new yorkers know to avoid those magically empty cars. There's always a reason it's empty and it's never pleasant.


ptelly t1_j6ib65v wrote

Ahhh NYC. Def do not miss working in the city.


LadyBug_0570 t1_j6ik7tn wrote

Oooh, I had the same thing happen to me. A train. 125th to Port Authority.

I have learned to never going into an empty car when all the others are full.


firstinversion t1_j6inn57 wrote

I was on the Paris metro when I made a similar mistake. It was in July in the midst of a heat wave.

I stepped right into a pile of vomit and it was too late to escape when I’d realized what I’d done.

Sandals ruined, lesson learned. You will most definitely not make this mistake again :)


trashcrayon t1_j6j3bza wrote

This sounds like an Always Sunny sketch 😂


Geek_Wandering t1_j6j521d wrote

You learn a NYC protip the hard way. The empty subway car is empty for a reason. It's usually best to not find out why.


thiswonderfulhell t1_j6j65lo wrote

When something seems too good to be true it usually is!


AcrobaticSource3 t1_j6jddhh wrote

Can’t you walk from one car to another in NYC subways? You didn’t have to wait until the next stop


hydrophobicfishman t1_j6lkj0b wrote

Don’t even have to read it to know what happened. Classic subway moment.


imnotsoho t1_j6pb36f wrote

I learned my lesson about an empty seat at a crowded bar. You gotta ask yourself why that seat is available.


SushiThief t1_j6galo6 wrote

>TL;DR Got on a subway car that was empty for a reason. Didn’t realize until too late.

Uhm.... that's hardly a tl;dr, as I read it and still have no idea what happened.


RudeSeraph t1_j6fqxgw wrote

Your tldr sucks fat irish cock.


[deleted] t1_j6frfbd wrote



OptionalCookie t1_j6fuadp wrote

I believe it. I live in the same city, and I operate those trains.

We have a serious homeless and mental illness problem.

A homeless man stood in front of my A train at W 4 telling me was going to kill himself if people didn't give him money and someone on the platform told him to hurry up.

I had released the brakes and I was getting ready to take power when he hopped down like this was just something to do.

Held us up for an hour.


visit_magrathea OP t1_j6fvxju wrote

Shit. That’s pretty nuts. Does this kind of thing get worse in the winter? I feel like I see more when it’s cold and people are trying to get out of it.


OptionalCookie t1_j6fyddm wrote

It's insane in the winter esp on the E line. The E doesn't go above ground.

When I was a conductor... In 2019, it was a bad winter so my operating position was full of just homeless people. The smell was vicious. I have Vicks in my bag for this reason.

Left Parsons (Jamaica center) and got world trade... No one left the train.

In the morning (I worked the midnights), you had the regular riding crowd running from car to car from either the smell or looking for a seat.

When I went to operator in 2020... Many people lost their homes or were thrown out during covid... So I'd get to Far Rockaway and see whole train cars still full and just full of families. Parents with their kids... Etc. It was distressing. ☹️

It's still pretty bad today, thankfully no families so I hope they are ok, but a lot of single men with addiction issues.