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Good Conduct

conductor hat Michael Shaw thought he owed his passengers an apology, but the railroad admonished him for doing so, reports Annie Correal in The New York Times (2/24/14). Michael is a conductor on the MTA’s Metro-North New Haven Line, out of Grand Central Station. Last Friday, his 6:52 am trip, usually an express train, was changed to a local. So, at each stop, he advised waiting passengers that they might want to wait for the next train, an express. The problem was, that train had been cancelled. Oops.

Michael felt bad about his mistake, so he wrote a letter of apology, printed up 500 copies, and left them on passenger seats on Monday morning. This is something Metro-North itself has been known to do from time to time, when passengers have been inconvenienced, so Michael thought they’d be cool with it. "I made a huge mistake in telling you, my/our passengers to ‘trust me and wait for the express train behind us, not knowing Metro North had cancelled it," Michael wrote, adding, "I will never make this mistake again."

Passengers were impressed. "It was absolutely amazing," says Katie Coleman, who thanked Michael via Twitter (he included his handle @Shawdogs65, in his letter). Metro North, however, saw things differently. It issued a statement praising Michael’s dedication and sentiments, but also stating, "we do not condone his methods of communicating them." It also advised passengers to rely on the MTA website, not their conductor, for information. Michael Shaw, meanwhile, "will be re-instructed on railroad policy."