Red Line operator tells commuters to go vote, sings ‘What the World Needs Now is Love’

In this 2017 file photo, commuters wait for a train on the MBTA Red Line at the Park Street Station in Boston.
In this 2017 file photo, commuters wait for a train on the MBTA Red Line at the Park Street Station in Boston.(CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF)

It was a spot of sunshine on an otherwise dreary and wet election day with a lot at stake at the polls.

An MBTA Red Line operator Tuesday morning delivered a heartfelt message over the loudspeaker as commuters prepared to exit the train, garnering praise for her impromptu speech.

As the Ashmont-bound train neared Park Street around 8 a.m., the operator — T officials identified her as Gwen McLean — took the opportunity to remind departing passengers to be good to each other and offered her blessings to those on board.

She then sang a few lines from the song “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” before urging people to get out and vote in the midterms.


McLean ended her dispatch with this: “Let’s have a bright and sunny day. I wish you all a wonderful, wonderful week. And again, I do thank you for your ridership.”

The unscripted advisory was well-received by those on board. One person in a train car that a Globe reporter happened to be riding on began to clap. Others simply smiled.

Passengers took to Twitter to thank McLean, who has been working for the T for 10 years, for injecting a bit of positivity into their daily morning commute.

“Gratitude to the Red Line conductor who made the usual ‘thank you for riding the T’ announcement, including a blessing of ‘hope, peace, joy, love, but most of all, love,’” one person wrote, “then sang ‘What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.’”

Another conceded that sometimes taking the MBTA “isn’t so bad.”

“My MBTA conductor just went over the loud speaker to sing what the world needs now is love sweet love and reminded everyone to vote,” the person tweeted.

The operator certainly isn’t the first T employee to offer a unique twist on travel announcements.


According to an MBTA spokesman, Green Line operator Tim Murphy has quite the fanbase.

Tweets from riders show that Murphy pumps “random bits of trivia and history on Boston public transportation in between stops” over the loudspeaker, something he’s apparently been doing for more than a year.

He also explains “to the new students in town all about train safety,” one passenger tweeted last month.

And of course, there’s Allen Freeman, a Red Line operator who is known for sounding like an announcer at a thoroughbred racetrack when he tells riders where they’re headed.

His signature style goes something like this: “Doors-open-on-the-left-side-of-the-train. Ash-mont. Traaain. Ash-mont!”

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in e-mail that the transit agency’s general manager, Luis Ramirez, “strongly believes there is a direct connection between employee morale and customer experience.”

“If train operators like Gwen and Tim can put a few smiles on the faces of daily commuters, that’s a gratifying moment in an otherwise mundane commute,” he said. “The O’Jays put it best: People all over the world, Join hands, Start a love train, love train.”

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.