You Accidentally Heard…

Author Lara B. Sharp

So, I’m walking up to a train station alone, in a quiet parking lot, at about 9:30am, and three men are doing some sort of tree trimming thing, on the train station property… The guy in crane turns off his chainsaw and shouts down to me, ‘Hey baby! Hey, sexy! Smile, sexy! Yo, sexy, smile! Hey baby! Hey, lookin’ good sexy, you made my morning!’

I looked up at him, rolled my eyes, and kept walking… I had to walk past them, to get to the ticket office… so, as I get closer, he starts yelling, ‘Don’t be a bitch! I’m just letting you know that I’d fuck you, baby!’

And then another guy, under his crane, maybe ten feet from me, starts saying ‘Hey, I’d fuck you too!’ And he yells up to the guy in the crane, ‘I’d fuck her too!’ Then, they both start up with, ‘Who would you fuck, baby, you’d fuck Me first, right baby…’ and I look at the third man, and he looks sheepishly at me, but says nothing.

So, I pull out my phone, walk past the two men on the ground, and under the man in the crane, who is still yelling about how he’d fuck me… and I take a photo of the company name on their truck, and the license plate, and then I take a photo of the two men on the ground, and of the man in the crane… and the sheepish man looks at me, realizing what I’m doing, and why, and he says, petulantly, ‘I didn’t do anything!’

So I stuck my phone in his face and I said, ‘Exactly! You just stood there, while your coworkers sexually harassed a woman! YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! Whatever, dude!’

I headed towards the ticket office, with the crane guy shouting ‘Fuck you, bitch’ over and over, as I walked away… I’m shaking, and I’m upset… I’m angry and frustrated, and I feel like crying… The woman who sells the train tickets sees that something is up with me, and she asks me if I’m feeling OK… So, I end up reporting the entire incident to the woman behind the counter, and I show her the pictures.

She gets on the phone and she reports it to her supervisor, gives me a number to call for station related complaints, because the train company has contracted their tree trimming company, and she comes out from her ticket counter, and she hugs me.

I get on my train, and call the number, and I’m transferred to a woman, and I tell her what happened. She is extremely compassionate while she takes my report.

A half hour later, I get a call. It’s two men, conference calling me about the report. Head of Something and Supervisor Someone…

I’m trying to get to NYC, so I’ve got bags, and therefore I’m using headphones, and I use the headphones for this call… Something I never do… and it’s freezing, so I am wearing gloves… Somehow, I manage to press the correct button, to answer their call…

Both men are very professional, and both men apologize profusely, and they assure me that one of them is going to address these men, in person, after the call… I mention the photos, and he asks me to send them to him. I assure him that I will do so. He texts me, because I’ve got no free hands to write anything down, so I can easily reply with the photos. I thank them, and I hang up my phone, using a button on the headset wire…

But, it doesn’t hang up… and I can still hear them…

They are still talking. I say hello… They can’t hear me…

I can’t get my phone out of my back pocket because I’ve got bags… I try to hang up again. I made it louder. I’m listening to them talk to each other… my phone is on mute, and I can’t remove my ear buds, so I keep trying to press the cord buttons, and it just won’t hang up…

One of the men says, ‘I can’t believe this’ and the other man says, ‘Me neither’ and my heart sinks…

Now, I really, really don’t want to hear this… I keep pressing on my headphone wire, frantically, because I know that I just don’t want to hear this… I can’t listen to this… I’ve been through enough today… My hands start shaking… I yank at the headphones, but they are wrapped around my ears… I keep pressing and pressing the buttons on my headphone wires, to turn them off, or to unmute them… But, it’s just NOT working… It’s not unmuting, or disconnecting…

Then, I hear, ‘Fire them, or suspend them?’

He responds, ‘Are you crazy?’

Other guy says, ‘Yeah, you’re right. I’m firing them. Women don’t make this shit up. They’re disgusting. They know better. Zero tolerance.’

The other man says, ‘I’m angry they treated her that way. Who talks to a woman like that? Who talks to anyone like that? Two of them even have daughters. Smart move on her part, taking the photos. I hope she sends them.’

Other guy says, ‘She’ll do it. Thankfully, for us. Because now we know. Maybe they talk to their daughters just as badly, right? Absolute pigs. I’ll file her photos. You go fire all three of them.’

And then… The other guy says, ‘When they sign and date the Termination Papers, make sure it says 2017, not 1917.’

They both laugh, somewhat sadly, and my phone goes silent. And I go silent.

With tears of appreciation in my eyes.

One of the men from the company called me back the following day, and left me a message informing me that ‘serious action was taken’, and he thanked me for having made the report.

Two days later, I passed through the same station, and I walked through the same parking lot, and I felt really nervous… But, it was all OK, because there was a different tree trimming company there.

All was quiet. All was well.

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