The MTA Will Be Disciplining the Station Agent Who Gave Everybody the Double Middle Finger

Video by Jonathan Pillot; screenshot via.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is very unhappy with the man you see above, a station agent at West 4th Street who apparently reacts to the frustrations of his job with exuberant double-fingered salutes.

Manhattanite Jonathan Pillot shared a video of the agent to his Facebook page; it shows Pillot and the agent, who the New York Post reports is named Stephen C. Herbert, mid-argument, after Pillot says he witnessed the agent behaving rudely towards an elderly woman.

On Facebook, Pillot wrote:

The woman before me at the subway booth on West 4th (she was in her 80's, probably),was treated soooooo disrespectfully by this man. She got so fed up that as she left out of frustration (and not getting what she wanted), she called him an idiot. He started screaming at her that she was an idiot. When I stepped up to put $10 on MetroCard, I told him that as a city employee he could not talk to customers that way. He started screaming at me, so I turned on my camera. This is what I got (quite an initial image, yes??!!). He refused to put money on my Card, and the guy behind me had to get my card refilled for me.

The Post appears to be correct with their I.D.; the MTA's payrolls list a Stephen C. Herbert as a station agent who came on the job in 2008; in 2012, he made $28 an hour. Six-ish years in a glass aquarium dealing with the adoring, transit-riding public may explain why Herbert also calls Pillot a "damn fool," accuses the other man of cursing at him, and shouts, "Don't try to play innocent now!"

Here's the video via ABC7:


Upon seeing the exchange, the MTA responded quickly via Twitter:

MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg confirmed that last night:

This morning, Pillot posted an update, writing, "Thank you for the beautiful feedback and reinforcement for what I did, which simply seemed the right thing to do as a Citizen of the World. I am sharing the video I took yesterday MOMENTS after the other video. I would have not captured this, or experienced it, without the other. Ahhh, the continuum of life."

The other video shows cheery musicians singing and dancing on the train. It's, um, not going to get quite as much attention as Double Middle Finger Salute guy.

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I find the lack of charity in these and the comments on Pillot's Facebook wall disheartening. Sure, I found the MTA worker's behavior appalling and rude. Then again, I also try to think how difficult that man's life may be and the difficulty of that kind of job -- difficulty in terms of having to deal with hundreds of people every day, many of whom aren't the nicest or most polite people in the world. I am also sure many of the customers to whom he sells tokens  every day make no effort to conceal the disdain they have for him or to show even a modicum of basic respect. This is apparent from so many of the comments I've been seeing -- ridiculing the job, making demeaning comments about the man who takes up such a job, and laughing at the low level of skills needed to get such a job. Every job and every worker deserves a minimum level of respect. C'mon people. Have some heart, some charity. If the MTA worker behaves like these regularly, there's no excuse. But if this was a bad day for him, maybe we should cut him some slack.

frank124c topcommenter

He is getting a decent salary for that type of job. People who work cash registers in stores, for example, earn much less. I am not saying that MTA workers don't deserve a good salary. I am saying that for that good salary they should be respectful to their customers. If someone in a store acted nasty you can be sure his supervisor would fire him right away. 


"Flipping the bird" has to be blurred?  I liked "Why did he flip out?" lol


I mean how hard is it to do THAT job? Take money, add money to card. They sit in ac in summer, and the booth is WELL heated in the winter. PLEASE don't let there be 2 of them in the booth, OR, its a change of shift. A common, 'we are in the middle of shift changing 'could you please be patient', would be nice. But we as travelers get NONE of that. Take the agent who you tell him you want a weekly card, and he puts $30 dollars on it instead. TRY getting that agent to give you a weekly. he says he can't do it, come back tomorrow. MTA needs a total rehab of their clerks starting now. Hey, MTA, I will do that job at $15 an hour, 6 days a week if you want me to.


@MJChappell  I had a job where I stayed inside a small booth dealing with people all day and it was really hard, but it would be the perfect job for some people. I'm not excusing his behavior. He can see a doctor and he should. 

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