Advice: Strangers keep piggybacking on my T pass
I want to confront people who follow me through the turnstile. Plus, dinner parties with dietary restrictions.
What should I do if someone follows me onto the T without paying the fare? On the one hand, people are struggling. I think everyone has snuck on at one point and it’s totally fair to want to help people. But sneaking on damages an already challenged MBTA — and the girl who did it last night had shopping bags with her, so I was conflicted. Do I be cool and help her? Or do I not swipe my pass and explain that she needs to pay her fare?
J.V. / Boston
Etiquette-wise, a person should ask if the pass holder will let him sneak on , forcing the pass holder into an ethical conundrum just when it’s time to get home after a long day or night. (This might also be the place to give a shout-out to the gentleman who let me follow him on after seeing that the scanner was refusing to even recognize my valid and topped-up card. Thanks, buddy! You helped me be on time for the important thing I was going to.)
But back to you, J.V. It’s not your responsibility to police the T, just because it’s possible for someone to use you as a human subway slug. Confronting strangers about their behavior in a public place is a serious move. You don’t know who you’re dealing with — and neither does the other person. If you’re big and loud, you might alarm someone more than you intend. In general, such confrontations with strangers are only worth it if they appear to be a danger to themselves or others. Costing the subway money? Not cool, but the risk analysis of speaking up doesn’t compute.
I am having a small dinner party, six people. One of us has dietary restrictions. I have chosen food that will satisfy her needs and still be yummy as far as the main dish, side dishes, and dessert go. Would it be rude to include an appetizer she can’t eat (it has cheese and wheat, and she avoids dairy and gluten), as long as I also have apps that she can eat?
K.C. / Boston
That’s perfectly fine, assuming her allergies aren’t at the atomic level where cross-contamination becomes an issue. You know for sure that they aren’t, correct?
Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.