NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was a scare on the subway in the Bronx this week, when a rider got her head stuck between the closing doors.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, what was even more surprising for many was how commuters reacted.
It happened on a No. 4 Train at the Woodlawn terminal on Tuesday afternoon. Video showed the woman with her head stuck between the doors of the train, and no one walking by seemed to notice or care.
It may have seemed like a practical joke. But a hoax it was not.
“Oh my God, that is ridiculous!” said Dereck Johnson of Jersey City. “I would have said: ‘Conductor! Look! Her head’s caught in the door! What are you, like, open the door!’”
“I think that’s very tragic,” said Angelina Villanueva of Woodlawn, the Bronx. “Like, how can somebody just pass by like that and not say nothing?”
Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers said the woman was exiting the train as it pulled into its final stop, when the doors shut and trapped her.
The video was captured by an unknown rider and has gone viral in the two days since.
Some riders admitted that they might not get involved because they would fear for their own safety.
“People do crazy things all the time, so you don’t know if it’s just somebody just being crazy,” one woan said. “You don’t know what’s going on.”
The woman was not surprised that people did not try to help.
“I think people are just in their own world – in a rush trying to get to where they need to go,” one rider said.
“They see this every day. They see horrible stuff,” said Cory Neal of Wakefield, the Bronx. “You can go online right now and watch horrible stuff happening all over the world, and I think that’s desensitizing people.”
Psychologist Kathryn Smerling said Neal’s analysis was spot-on.
“We are living in a desensitized culture. We are becoming numb to front-page news which shows horrific acts of violence,” she said, “and those things are making it so that we do not notice when other people are in pain.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said a worker seen in the video casually walking by the woman was a train operator on her way to the conductor’s cab to open the doors.
“You can see her hustling too. She’s going so fast,” Johnson said. “I mean, my goodness. Like, she could be not breathing right there.”
The woman who was trapped between the doors has not been identified. The MTA said she refused medical attention and left the station.