Harassed by a Circulator Driver

I was not expecting the bus driver to holla at me. At about 5:40 PM, I boarded the Circulator (1139) at Rosslyn, which was heading towards Dupont Circle. I’m one out of many in a long line waiting to board the bus. Why did the driver feel the need to single me out to say “Sista, you are SO beautiful!” while leering at me?! It didn’t make me feel beautiful, it made me feel embarrassed and defensive.

I put my hand up and said “Don’t talk to me like that. You worry about driving the bus.” He says “Okay!” in a defensive tone. With everyone else who boarded he acted professionally, gave them directions, etc., but he had to make commentary on my appearance.

When the bus got to Dupont, I walk to the front to snap his photo. He was too distracted giving directions to tourists to pay attention to me taking his photo. It was a good thing, since it saved me the trouble of a major confrontation.

These men need to stop using their jobs as ways to hit on and/or pick up women. If these men gave a damn about their jobs, they wouldn’t do this. As a bus driver, his only concern should be driving the bus, and as a passenger, my only concern should be getting where I want to be, not dealing with leering bus drivers.

Submitted by Anonymous

Location: Circulator bus at Rosslyn Metro Station bus stop

Time of harassment: 5:40 PM

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12 Responses

  1. cathy

    good for you. you can try complaining to wmata, though i’m reasonably certain nothing will come of it. all the same, you did your part!

  2. Skeptical

    So he complimented you with one sentence, albeit not very smoothly, and when you rebuffed him he was embarrassed enough to leave the other passengers alone? Sounds like you solved the problem easily and he learned his lesson (for the day). so why do you need to post it here?

    • Golden Silence

      I know anytime someone has a user name like “Umm…”, “Wait A Minute,” or in this case “Skeptical” (which is more in line with a state of mind and less of a user name), they’re here to instigate.

      This site is a place for women to share their stories—good, bad, ugly—and the outcomes of them. If this woman wanted to share this story, regardless of handling it without an issue, that’s her choice to do so.

    • JT

      See the HollaBack FAQs:

      “Some do not find comments such as “Hello, beautiful” or “Hey, gorgeous” offensive. Many do. Others may find them intimidating, intrusive, or just an annoying pain in the ass. Keep in mind that many women experience unsolicited comments, as well as violent verbal assault, from men in public spaces on a regular basis. Rather than deliberating the ‘gray areas’ of street harassment, treat everyone you encounter with respect.”

      If she felt harrassed, she was harrassed. I am so tired of people belittling the street harrassment experiences of women!

    • Golden Silence

      And another thing. Where are you getting the impression that he didn’t harass other passengers because she spoke up for herself? It’s implied in this post that he felt the need to “holla” at her because she was black (“sista”) and that he felt his being the same race as she was gave him the right to say whatever he wanted to her. I doubt this clod would’ve tried to “holla” at a non-black passenger. I can relate to what this woman went through because I’ve been the recipient of unwanted intra-racial harassment myself.

      • Still Skeptical

        I got the impression that he didn’t harass other passengers because OP wrote “With everyone else who boarded he acted professionally, gave them directions, etc.” I wasn’t trying to instigate or flame this post, just trying to bring a bit of rationality to a post that I didn’t think was a case of harassment, but more one of bad manners. Things I learned from Hollabackdc? Keep your head down and your mouth shut when in public.

  3. Nigerian Sista

    Glad you spoke up and I have to agree that even if you do complain I don’t know if anything would happen to the guy. I had metro worker yell at me WHILE WORKING and tell me that ‘I will be treated how my attitude is’ because I wouldn’t smile in his face when he was walking to me. He did this in front of other metro workers. I reported the fool and was told they couldnt take any action and I had waited to long to report him (yeah right). Metro lacks integrity, class, and professionalism because they dont seem to care about the idea that having classless and invasive employees makes the company look bad. Not only having classless employees but not holding them accountable when they are sexually harassing women. I even had another employee keep getting mad cause I wouldnt acknowledge him day after day and finally lashed out telling me, ‘I’m tired of you ugly broads on the train’. What kind of company sweeps this kind of thing under the rug? Any company who has has high standards would reprimand the employee because a good company would not only deal with employees harassing other employees, but certainly paying customers! Metro emplyees are paid decent to high salaries which allow them to provide for themselves and their families, but I guess treating customer with dignity (and women the HELL alone) is too much to ask.

    • Golden Silence

      “I reported the fool and was told they couldnt take any action and I had waited to long to report him (yeah right).”

      I can relate. Years ago, two Metro employees hanging out at a station harassed me, and as soon as I got home I filed an online complaint. I had the time, date, station location and even the first initial and full last name of one of the harassers (from his name tag). Their response was that they couldn’t narrow down the culprits from my information. Shaking my damn head at that.

      It really doesn’t seem that Metro cares about the conduct of its employees at all. Something needs to change.

  4. E.

    OP is right that he doesn’t care about losing his job, because he probably is part of a (public) union, meaning he’s overpaid and probably impossible to let go. The irony of it on a left leaning website like this is grin-inducing.

  5. Anonymous

    Typical day at the office with this woman:

    Co-worker: “Happy Monday, hehe! How was your weekend?”

    Koo-Koo: “Help! Someone call the police! I’m being harassed!

    Co-worker: “Uh, what?”

    Koo-Koo: “I’ve decided that speaking to me is a crime! So you’re in big trouble Mr.!! I read on the internet that anything I don’t like is harassment. But it only works for women, so don’t you dare try it on me!”

    Co-worker: “Um, okay. Whatever.”

    Koo-Koo: “That’s right pervert! Everything…time, space, the American legal system, are subject to my personal interpretation! If I’m in a bad mood and you talk around me you’re breaking the god damn law! Why? Because I said so! Anyone who says otherwise is interfering with my “empowerment” as a woman and will be executed!”

    • Golden Silence

      Goddamn, Anonymous! This is overkill! Get a life! Even without a user name and with the anonymous Gravatar (the pale blue one that comes up when you don’t use an e-mail address) I know you’re the same person commenting on each story with your negativity and hate. Enough!

      There’s been an uptick on troll activity here and it’s disheartening.

  6. Femme


    People may view your over-serious attitude ais hilarious even when things are not funny. If only you could see the humour in your seriousness. As a timid silly person as I am, I wish I could be as bold and as serious as you are. You are fearless and you are free to be yourself. Your boldness is a wonderful trait. When you walk into a room your presence overpowers it. Being overly bold can sometimes make you appear that you don’t care what other people think, eventhough deep down inside you really do care. If it bothers you that people treat you differently, then may try to tone yourself down a little and blend in a little more with everyone else. The more people act different or look different, the more they will get treated different. There will always be bullies in this world who will discriminate and harass people who are different. Your seriousness also comes across that you are being too hard on yourself due to others’ reactions towards you. You need to lighten up. You are fine just the way you are. Just tone yourself down a liittle and that will prevent yourself from attracting negative dramatic attention from bullies and discriminators.