February 28, 2019
On February 24, a situation arose at Sutton Station in London that turned the spotlight towards basic human decency and rights.
A woman, who prefers to remain anonymous walked by Sutton station in southwest London and saw an incident unfold and decided to take a video, which she posted to Facebook.
Two uniformed Southern rail staff stood over a homeless man lying on the ground outside the station. A worker carrying a green bucket filled with dirty water appeared and began sloshing the water towards him after he told the homeless man something inaudible that he ignored.
The man’s refusal to get up got himself and his bag of belongings drenched. The woman who shot the footage was horrified as she answered someone’s question,
“I’m filming it because that’s absolutely disgusting behavior of another human being.”
An unidentified male voice responded, “Why are you filming it, you don’t need to film it. Know the story before you start recording.”
The woman filming the video still thought there was nothing that could warrant the treatment of another human being in that way and added,
“You still don’t throw water on a man like that.”
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Kirstie Webster came out in defense of Southern Rail staff. Her account added another perspective to the situation as she spoke of the abuse they endured at the hand of the same homeless man just a short while earlier.
Kirstie and her 4-year-old son Tommy was at the station during that time as she recalled the incident:
"I was getting a train ticket with my young son and the man in the video, he was with a woman, and they started abusing us. They were talking down to us, being very intimidating and aggressive. They were swearing, using abusive language - it was just disgusting. My son was traumatised, he was in tears."
The Southern Rail staff had tried moving the man all morning as he’d been causing trouble with people like Kirstie and her son, but he wouldn’t budge, and they were at their wit’s end.
The woman who captured the footage captioned the posted video:
“This is how Southern fail staff treat another human being in Sutton, and I didn’t start filming till they had already whacked him with the mop and put even more water on and around him. Complaint raised with Southern fail.”
There are also some that pointed out that someone in the video said the homeless man reeked of urine.
Meanwhile, Southern Railway passenger services director, Angie Doll gave The Independent a statement regarding the incident:
“We take this incident extremely seriously and have started an investigation. The two staff members seen in the video have been suspended. We would like to apologize to the homeless man, and we are trying to make contact with him to offer help and support.”
The two Southern Railway workers involved in the incident got suspended while it's being investigated. Similarly, a McDonald’s employee got fired after his actions towards a homeless man went viral; the difference between him and the two Southern Railway workers is motive.
For the workers, it was the last resort of men that didn’t know what else to do to get rid of someone being abusive to non-deserving strangers.
It is a public area, and he chose to get wet by not getting up after it became apparent they were going to use the water.
Entertainment with a nasty streak is what drove the former McDonald's employee who lured the homeless man closer with the promise of food. Once close enough, he threw a glass of water in the homeless man’s face.
Some may argue that neither the former McDonald's worker nor the two railway workers had the right to do what they did, others may feel more conflicted regarding the railway workers’ dilemma. What do you think?
In December, another video went viral when a man in Derby threw takeaway food at a homeless man..
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