(Kenneth C. Zirkel/Getty Images)
In a bizarre scene on Washington D.C.’s Metro Wednesday morning, passengers intervened to save a toddler who was being abducted by a total stranger.
According to witnesses who spoke with the Washington Post, a mother and her two-year-old boarded the Orange Line shortly before 9:30 a.m. The toddler was strapped into a stroller.
Out of nowhere, another female passenger on the train apparently tried to pull the child out of the stroller. While both the mother and child were screaming, several strangers stepped in and restrained the woman until the Metro came to the Foggy Bottom station, where transit authorities took the would-be abductor into custody.
The toddler was not hurt during the incident.
While the story ultimately had a happy ending, passengers onboard the Metro at the time reported they had tried calling for help using the train’s emergency intercom system, but were unable to have any kind of successful communication with the conductor.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time someone’s tried to use the Metro’s emergency alert system and wound up getting a whole lot of nothing for their trouble.
In 2013, a fight broke out between two men on a Metro train. When a fellow passenger tried to use the emergency button to call for help, there was no response, according to this NBC4 report at the time. A deeper look into the incident showed years of faulty alert systems and outdated equipment that were about as helpful in an emergency as a bucket of water in a thunderstorm.
Since then, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (or WMATA, as it’s more often called) promised to look into the problem and fix it.
While Metro authorities can’t be expected to predict every crazy person who decides to hop on a trail and steal a baby -- because who could? -- it does seem like they could do something about faulty emergency intercoms.
Or entire train derailments caused by totally preventable employee error.
Or people getting trapped inside the Metro and dying of smoke inhalation.
But hey, at least their escalators work!