Dear PoPville – Thanks to the Good Samaritan in Columbia Heights

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday morning I as I was walking down Irving Street, just past Acre 121, I accidentally brushed shoulders with someone going the opposite direction. I was zoned out, carrying two bags on that shoulder, and just didn’t judge the distance needed to pass. When it happened I kind of waved back to say I’m sorry, and kept going. I got about two steps further when suddenly the man was in my face screaming and cursing up a storm at me for running into him. I was totally caught off guard, trying to asses whether he was one of the local CoHi crazies or a resident having a rough Monday morning. Needless to say, I was terrified, and was stammering apologies as he continued to scream and curse at me, two inches from my face.

Then from the street I hear “Don’t you dare yell at a girl like that.” A car waiting at the light had seen the altercation and apparently pulled over to come to my rescue. The passenger, a rather large man, got out and got in the guy’s face telling him to back off and that it was an accident, as the guy continued yelling at him. At this point, I bolted. I continued on my way just wanting to get out of the situation, but looking back the rest of the way to the bus to be sure the crazy man wasn’t chasing after me, and literally thinking “this guy is going to stab me.”

Once I was safely on the bus (never thought I’d say that) I felt like a real jerk for taking off and not even acknowledging the two people who came to my aid. It’s probably a long shot, but I just wanted to put a giant thank you out into the world to them, since I know many people (admittedly myself included) probably wouldn’t have done the same.”

53 Comment

  • Nice to know people will still stand up for someone.

  • It takes two to run into each other.

  • Isn’t it kind of sexist to refer to a woman as a “girl”?

  • Please don’t call it “CoHi”

    • why not?

      • saf

        Because it is a tacky adoption of a tacky NY style.

        Give it the dignity of a real name.

        • That’s fine, but you’ve got to allow for nicknames — especially in written communication. Suggest another nickname if you don’t like this one.

          • saf

            Why? It is Columbia Heights. What’s wrong with calling it that?

            Nothing, that’s what. It’s just laziness.

          • You’re going to have to accept that nicknames exist in our culture. They are everywhere — and *extremely* common on internet forums. I can see your ire being raised if someone used this in conversation, but that’s not the case.

            What about “PoP” — why not give “Prince of Petworth” the dignity of real name? Is that laziness? This ain’t exactly Strunk + White territory, you realize.

          • Don’t you mean StruWhi?

            (Sorry, I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.)

  • I’ve never felt unsafe on any bus that goes through Columbia Heights–no idea what she’s talking about.

    • Or any bus in DC, period.

      I’ve been on a few in VA that had some scary-looking folks on them, but even then the bus driver’s there to keep an eye on things.

  • “one of the CoHi crazies” haha! I can relate to this… they are pretty prevalent in CH

  • Seriously, what is with DC folks and the crazy violent reactions to getting bumped on the sidewalk. I have had this happen to me or seen it happen so many times, it is a little scary.

    Someone breaking out the B word, racial insults, threats of physical violence etc b/c someone bumped into their purse (all scenes I have witnessed involved crazy women, not men), or brushed their shoulder seems like a uniquely Washington issue.

  • Now I’m not a blame the victim person, but maybe he heard you saying “CoHi.”

  • Hope the good samaritans see this!

    Go CoHi!

  • “CoHi?” Come on Prince, censor that out! This is a family-friendly blog.

  • And this thread sums up exactly why this site blows: instead of acknowledging that a stranger did a very nice thing for someone, most commenters are talking about whether “CoHi” is an appropriate way to refer to the neighborhood, whether “girl” is a nice way to refer to a grown woman, or if she may have done something to deserve getting yelled at. Amazing.

  • I wish more people would do this. I am a woman who has gotten screamed at in the Metro for innocuous activities such as bumping into another or walking while reading my phone. (I realize I’m not blameless in those scenarios, but screaming at a stranger doesn’t seem warranted.) Being yelled at while people stand around you, either watching but doing nothing or pretending not to notice, makes you feel really lonely.

  • The same thing happened to me on the Circulator coming to CoHt … they put those seats very close together. Some crazy man was spralled out in the seat so much so that when I went to sit down I bumped into him …. I simple got up and moved when he started yelling … just figured … “Well here is one more prime example of trash low life that lives in DC.” ….. its no use in reasoning with people like this … these are seriously crazy people … and DC loves to collect them and give them welfare checks.

  • hispanicandproud

    “Girls” in Columbia Heights sure do think they can bump into you and then act as if nothing happened.

  • It has been my experience that many women in DC do not share the sidewalks. I know we should not generalize, but on many occasions I have been forced into tree boxes and into the street because they will not move to the right in the face of oncoming fellow pedestrians. It’s rude and annoying.

    That said, the guy’s reaction in this instance seems way out of line.

    • I’m really very much for both paying attention and general courtesy. Try not to get in others’ way, apologize sincerely when you do, and don’t assault people when they invade your bubble. Not difficult.

  • I think its great that a someone came in to try to help. Its happened to me as well, and I have seen it happen to others, though to be honest I have never tried to intervene for fear of escalating the situation into something more dangerous than yelling. People get too angry about small things such as a bump and the next thing you know they pull out a knife!

  • i think i saw the tail end of this exchange that morning – the woman who reported the incident was rushing away down the sidewalk looking very upset. a very menacing sounding fellow in a car was driving really slowly down irving, keeping an eye on the guy who was the crazy screamer. i was just thinking, what the hell happened here? and turns out it was just an accidental bump on the sidewalk? that’s the kind of crazy reaction that makes you think, this person is unstable and could do anything to me right now. i would have taken off too.

  • Wait, at the end of her post, the OP states that two people helped her but she only mentions one in the story. Who was this mysterious 2nd helper?

    Also, it is NOT okay to call a woman a “girl.” It is also NOT okay to intervene in such a situation. She is a grown woman, she can handle her own battles. Sounds like she should have reported this “Good Samaritan” to Holla Back DC!, not POP.

    • I disagree with this. Some women are getting screamed at by men who might be twice their size, and you’re not going to intervene because we can “fight [our] own battles”? Don’t worry about not being a sexist. Start being an active member of your community. I promise, if I am getting screamed at on the street, my feminist side is not going to come out and attack you when it’s all over.

  • I am all about sharing sidewalks and often go to the street to let others pass, but I am amazed how some people just assume they own the sidewalk. Three or four buddies (especially the going out types, all dressed up, all determined to be on the side walk, shoulder to shoulder, sometimes I avoid the situation and go to the tree box or stand to the side sadely with not even an acknowledgement from any of them, sometimes I just go, and if I end up bumping with one or two, oh well. Share the side walk.

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