It was only a matter of time before the Swine Flu hysteria escalated to the next level and what better place for it to heat up than New York City on the D train. The Business Insider's Lawrence Delevingne caught a glimpse and an earful of the first reported swine flu-induced subway altercation this morning while nearing the 42nd St Street- Bryant Park stop.
This is how it all went down: A slightly overweight, perhaps 5'7" woman was coughing without covering her mouth when another woman nearby, roughly 5'2" and stocky, told her, "you need to cover your mouth -- I don't want swine flu."
The second woman continued to yell at the cougher, berating her until she reacted, beginning to curse back. It escalated, and the accosting woman yelled "get the conductor!"
No one got the conductor -- it just seemed like a shouting match -- but as the train pulled into 42nd Street, the coughing woman spit on the other, provoking what sounded like a punch from the reaction of the crowd (we didn't directly see it). Then the cougher attempted to exit the train as the doors were open, but the second woman grabbed her by the back of the hair, violently yanking her down to the floor.
The last action happened directly in front of us. The cougher got up, yelling and cursing, but was escorted out of the train by what appeared to be a friend. Your correspondent, who had been sleepily reading about CIT's bankruptcy filing, held the shorter woman back, who kept screaming as the second woman left the train.
One rider was just as bothered by the cougher, "That sh-t was going all over the train." While another stressed all is fair when swine flu is involved: "I could have decked her too. That swine flu is treacherous." Then again, the D train is an incubator for tense subway rides. [Via Daily Intel]