Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Deaf "Red" Metro Line

Many of you already knew about the real tragic incident within the DC Metrorail (subway)accident last two days ago, but want to bring out "deaf stories" about the Metrorail ride.

Hundreds of deaf Metro riders often ride on this very same Red Line on the DC's Metrorail system between Gallaudet University (NY Avenue/Gallaudet University Metrorail station) and National Association of the Deaf and other numerous deaf organizations like the National Association of the Deaf-Blind (Silver Spring Metrorail station).

Many Gallaudet students usually commute from Montgomery County like Silver Spring or Wheaton for cheaper rental housings during the academic year. More and more Gallaudet students opted to settle within Northeast Washington DC region lately for easy walking commute to the Kendall Green campus (Gallaudet University/MSSD/Kendall). The Trindad area within Gallaudet University proximity getting much improved for past five years.
WUSA9 Slideshow

That seems no known deaf individuals getting injured or struck or slammed during yesterday's Metrorail accident. Here is the Washington Post article detailed the names of nine dead people -
ARTICLE What about any deaf Metrorail riders being present during the deadliest Metrorail accident in 32 years that late afternoon?

Another interesting feature about the Washington Metropolitian Transit Authority known as "WMATA" - http://www.wmata.com/ The D2, D4 and D6 Metrobuses generally known as "Deaf Bus" which serve from the 8th and K Street Northeast to Union Station and Northwest Washington DC area for many years like 50 years!

One Gallaudet alumni like Dr. Barbara Kannapell once quipped "Oh Gosh, things never change with the D2-6 bus definitely known as "Deaf Bus". Kannapell herself did not use the WMATA system at all. Kannapell was on her way to Dr. Betty Miller's house for the DC Association of the Deaf (DCAD) board meeting on 10th Street (?). Dr. Betty Miller and her lifetime partner no longer resided at this area and moved to Philadelphia, PA which they sold the house before the housing market crash. How lucky Dr. Betty Miller and her partner were!

Jon Kovacas, former Gallaudet student and Gallaudet alumni now, shared his unbelievable story with me about what happened on the corner of 8th Street and K Street while he and other Gallaudet students waited for the incoming the "Deaf Bus" some evening. Several Gallaudet students managed to taunt the African American hearing driver waited for the traffic turn. The driver ended up took out his automatic gun. The students ran like hell to avoid getting shoot at. Those students neither got hurt or shoot at . Yes, the enraged driver did shoot randomly at the given scene. Amen to that!

The recall of my Gallaudet male friend shared such a story with me about one Gallaudet female student REFUSED TO PAY DISABLED FARE because she do not consider herself "disabled' at all. That female student insisted of paying the full fare like everyone else. What a character!

This very same female student was somewhat a weirdo and outcast, but admirably making the real sense of identifying herself as non-disabled before "Do not call me disabled because I'm deaf" trend became fashionable ten years later.

I somewhat agreed with this female student in many ways that is kinda hypocritical of us having the societal expectation to get the discount fares because we are deaf within ourselves.

On another thing, the sizable majority of deaf people are still in the low salaries and low-income category.

What about deaf people having well-paid salaries and still get discount fares? I personally believe that those deaf people ought to pay non-discount fares. Not other low-income hearing
people able to obtain discount fares. Same thing with the homeless people having hard time to
pay regular fares.

Many unbelievable occurrences on the Metrorail cars (subway) like some commuters having sex on the Metrorail car during very late weekend hours. Several Gallaudet students and I witnessed the public sex in front of us. Holy Mackerel!

Some deaf Metrorail riders' wireless pagers got stolen during the Metrorail ride. One deaf guy's pager got snatched while he composed message near the Metrorail door.

Usually watched other unsuspecting deaf Metrorail riders' ASL conversation from time to time and greeted them with my pretension to be a hearing person trying awkward with ASL signings to get their reactions. Some deaf visitors from other places managed to identify me right away as a deaf person, not a hearing person! Other deaf people being so gullible!

That is my own kind of harmless pranks pulled on some deaf people whose not know me personally.

I also saved one deaf person's life when the Metrorail booth operator ran to me and begged for my help with that 40s deaf guy trying to take his own life by jumping in front of the Metrorail car pretty long time ago. I was a young Gallaudet student at that time and dealt with the unexpected situation involved deaf drunkard whose her wife worked at Gallaudet College. I missed out on special event that late evening. I had to deal with this deaf guy for about one hour until the parademic unit arrived. He got real upset about being served with the divorce paper that evening.

I ended up became a good friend with this deaf guy years later. What the small world we are living in! I always enjoyed his intelligence and human warmth. We ever became tenants within the deaf rooming house facing the Kendall Green (Gallaudet) campus.

One chilly winter night, my Gallaudet housemates and I went out for drinks and foods in Georgetown (DC) area. Some African American drivers could be real racists themselves like not
stopping the bus whenever any white deaf bus bystanders waved their hands for the bus coming to the curbside next to the bus stop sign. I noticed that the D4 bus driver was not going to stop the bus at all. I had to stand in front of the bus before it went ahead without stopping at the bus stop. The bus driver was kinda stunned to see some guys like me being gutsy to stand in the front of the bus and not let it go until we got aboard. No questions about us being frozen to death within the 20's low temperature that late winter evening.

I never am afraid of anything! I would do anything to do something right or for justice!

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)


  1. Robert Alfred HawkinsJune 24, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    ::: chuckles :::

    Deaf taunting African-Americans. This is just why Deaf tends to be plagued by bad karma whenever they cry discrimination. There's so many deaf who are not any different compared to hearing being very horrible cases when it comes to tolerance.

    ::: shoulder shrugs :::

    Ironically, I think the taxpayer's money are wasted on pork barrel spending on politically correct crap. Give WMATA some love in form of green bucks or else Washington, DC and its metropolitan suburbs will continue being the laughing stock of the U.S.

    Not so fast. I'm an unbiased native Washingtonian.

    On a more important note. Deepest of condolences goes out to all affected by this so horrific a tragedy.

  2. I have few accidents in the metro bus at Silver Spring area(on 16 st Street NW) while I was a student of NWC.

  3. Hedy,

    Whoa! Had you been injured in any way.

    Yes, the S2, S4, S6 buses still run on the
    16th Street Northwest.

    THe WMATA recently added the express bus
    for the 16th Street during particular time.


  4. Wow ... This brings me a lot of memories.. Thanks for sharing the stories with me and the rest.

    Diane 89ers' ;-)

  5. Hey Diane,

    We definitely remember how dependent we were on the DC public transit system.

    Same thing with the Gally shuttle buses commuted between the NWC and Kendall Green campuses with very cool deaf bus drivers.

    Did you know that IKJ did not fight against the DC legislative bill pretty years ago to ban deaf drivers on the issue of liability insurance. *rolling eyes in disbelief*

    That ended up limit the