We’ve all been there, riding some form of public transportation when a fellow rider does something annoying -- a loud, inappropriate cell phone conversation or some guy spouting rap lyrics laced with the n-word or negative references to women.
Typically, this behavior goes unchallenged.
So how does an elderly woman in Miami Dade get kicked off a train for singing gospel?
Emma Anderson, 82, was feeling the spirit, so she started singing and playing a makeshift paper drum. Her concert of one was interrupted by a security guard who instructed her to stop because, apparently, riders can’t sing on a Miami Dade train.
Well, I guess Ms. Anderson thought that was crazy, too, because she kept on singing, and that’s when the devil showed up and showed out. The next thing you know, the guard snatched Anderson’s paper drum and kicked her off the train.
I have witnessed folks doing much more annoying things in public. I once had a student who would burst into a spiritual song for no apparent reason. I would be lecturing or demonstrating a technique and Angelica would suddenly sing a verse or two of “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” and then go right back to working on her computer. Was it unusual? Yes. But did I kick her out of class because she suffered some form of gospel turrets? No.
Well, the security guard who escorted Ms. Anderson from the train was not so accommodating. In fact, he was downright rude. Surveillance cameras caught him pulling her off the train by her bag. The scuffle resulted in Ms. Anderson falling and bruising her shoulder.
Jesus might be on the main line, but apparently there was a dream snatcher on the Miami Dade transit line.
The mayor of Miami Dade apologized, as has the Miami Dade Transit Authority, which released this statement: “We regret that Ms. Anderson had to be escorted out, but regardless of age, all passengers need to abide by rules associated with using transit.”
The statement went on to explain that singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument are prohibited on public transportation there, unless one has a commercial permit.
I saw the video and was outraged. My grandmother is my heart, and if I saw someone handle her the way the security officer did Ms. Anderson, I would be under the jail.
Certainly there are rules, but in a day and age when we have folks cursing, talking loud and violating every imaginable act under the Napoleonic Code of civil conduct, it’s unacceptable that a senior citizen would be treated so poorly for simply singing a gospel song?
In fact, I think an apology is not enough. I think the guard should undergo some kind of gospel sensitivity training.
To ensure that such an incident never repeats itself, I offer Professor Locs’ 5 Top Gospel Sensitivity Training exercises:
5. The guard would have to attend choir practice for a month, and not the regular choir, either; it has to be the children’s choir.
3. The guard should have to submit to being a roadie and personal manservant to Kirk Franklin on his next tour.
2. The guard would be required to wear and distribute “I Heart Thomas Dorsey” T-shirts at the next National Baptist Convention.
1. The guard would be given black and gold thread and made to hand-stitch the embroidery onto the choir robes for all 132 members of the Mississippi Mass Choir Gospel Love World Tour.