Elderly woman forced off Metrorail for singing hymns
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida woman claims a security guard forced her to exit the Metrorail last month for refusing to stop singing religious hymns.
The incident involving 82-year-old Emma Anderson and the guard occurred Feb. 20 at the Brickell Metrorail station, was caught on cell phone video. The footage shows the guard approaching Anderson, who was singing loudly on a corner seat and tapping her thigh with a rolled-up piece of paper to keep time with the music.
The guard asked Anderson several times to stop singing before grabbing her cart and escorting her off the train. "You're getting off here, let's go," the guard is heard telling Anderson, who was heading to the Brownsville station.
"It was not right for them to drag her off the train," said Donal Anderson, the rider's son, "Not by the way I've seen in the video." As the footage shows, a tug of war between the devout woman and the guard ensued after he grabbed her bag.
Anderson's efforts were no match for the guard's strength as she was dragged toward the exit. It was at this point, once the guard had forced Anderson off the train and onto the platform, that she fell down.
Miami-Dade Transit spokesperson Karla Damian said there is a noise policy which stipulates that singing, dancing and playing instruments are prohibited. A written statement reads in part: "We regret that Ms. Anderson had to eventually be escorted out, but regardless of age, all passengers need to abide by rules associated with using transit."
Donal said the department's policy is no excuse for the guard's behavior. "I understand what you're saying about the noise policy, but there should also be a way that they can apprehend people and take them off the train," he said.
When asked about this policy, the elder Anderson replied, "Well, y'all may call it 'noise,' but wait till Jesus comes. It's going to be more noise in there!"
The senior citizen observed the guard could have handled the situation differently. "I didn't cry, cause God told me long ago he was going to dry my tears, no matter what happens now," she said.
Anderson's fall resulted in a bruised shoulder. She said no one will take away her gift of song. "I was blind, but now I see," she sang as she launched into her rendition of "Amazing Grace."
The Andersons contacted Miami-Dade Police on the day of the Metrorail incident. They have also hired an attorney and are examining all their options.
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