Off Track: Non-stop Cell Phone Talker Escorted off Amtrak Train by Police

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Lakeysha Beard admitted that she had been blathering away on her cell phone in the “quiet car” of an Amtrak train. Still, “she didn’t understand why she had to be escorted off the train” by police. Beard said she felt “disrespected” by the incident.

Police in Salem, Oregon, said Beard got into a “verbal altercation” with other train passengers who complained that she refused to put her cell phone away. They were annoyed that she had been talking continuously from the time the train had left the station in Oakland, California—sixteen hours earlier.

According to one report, train operators called police and stopped the train near Salem after they received complaints that Beard had been talking loudly and causing problems with other passengers in her car. Police arrested Beard for Disorderly Conduct.

Having traveled a number of times on Amtrak trains myself, I can understand the frustration of the passengers who were incensed by Beard’s non-stop chatter when use of cell phones is prohibited in the “quiet cars.” Author Matt Taibbi says he was delighted when he heard the tale of Beard and her arrest. He wrote the following on his blog at Rolling Stone: “I travel on Amtrak a lot and have long believed that willful violators of quiet car protocol should be subject to the death penalty. In fact I believe each train should be outfitted with a special car full of half-starved wolverines and wild boars, into which quiet-car cell phone talkers should be thrown. I’m hoping the Supreme Court takes up this issue in the future.”

Do you think the death penalty would be a tad too harsh a punishment? Does anyone else have suggestions as to what type of punishment would best fit the crime of loud and incessant cell phone chatter in the “quiet car” of an Amtrak train?


Loud cell-phone talker removed from quiet car by police (Yahoo)
Woman feels ‘disrespected’ after being kicked off train (Komo News)
Cops kick cellphone blabbermouth off train: After 16 hours blathering, woman doesn’t understand why she got the boot (MSNBC)
Woman Arrested For Disorderly Conduct On Amtrak Train (KXL)
Woman’s cell-phone use halts train (SFGate)
Matt Maibbi

33 thoughts on “Off Track: Non-stop Cell Phone Talker Escorted off Amtrak Train by Police”

  1. s pillar industries encompass agriculture, tourism,
    petrochemical industry, electronics and information, and marine bio-pharmaceutical industry.
    Needless to say, the majority of residents had artificial trees.
    The microphone is right at the bottom, and works effectively.

  2. A little old, but I’d note that Amtrak doesn’t have “charging stations” per se, but actual electrical outlets powered by the locomotive (although I think it runs off of batteries if the locomotive is shut down). You can plug pretty much anything in there. I’ve read about people plugging in hot water kettles, although mostly it’s assorted power supplies like phone, electric shaver, and computer chargers.

    And the other deal is that people were trying to sleep. I’ve ridden a train on a long distance route (only for a couple of hours) and there were still people trying to sleep at 10 AM.

  3. Its about time Amtrak had a rule that was enforced. Most of the time I see passengers doing whatever they want and then complaining and taking names when they dont get their way so that employees will give in. Amtrak is a good place to put on a show and get a free ride. All you have to do is complain that you dont like the employees because they dont look right or they dont let please you or you can say that the bathroom is dirty or the food was too hot or too cold and the company gives out free trips left and right to the loudest crierrs. Amazing! This is the way my tax money is being spent!

  4. I’ve been to the Philippines, and on Manila’s metro rail system, there are “women only” cars for women who are concerned about being sexually assaulted. And of course, inevitably some “men” have complained about it. There are similar train cars and buses in some Brazilian cities for the same reason.

    Closer to home, many buildings and restaurants have a strict no smoking policy, and not always because of any laws issued by governments. And to no surprise, you will find at least one butthead lighting up a cigarette inside.

    Some people just don’t grasp the concept of OTHER PEOPLE, as if no one exists but themselves. That fat cow should have been forcibly dragged out with handcuffs behind the back, then pushed out from the top step of the train onto her fat face.

  5. One bus ride home from work a few years ago, I sat down in front of what I thought were two energetic, eastern-European women having an animated conversation in some Slavic language. I was lucky to get a seat, so I plopped down, not looking at the seats behind me – the source of the continuous conversation. It was evening rush hour, and as the bus inched through traffic, with these ladies yammering on and on non-stop. They weren’t loud, just continuously talking to each other. They were clearly good friends or relatives, as they managed to not really talk over each other, just taking turns while the other one took a breath or rested her vocal chords.

    After about 15 to 20 minutes of this amazingly non-stop, absolutely continuous conversation, I glanced over my shoulder.

    It was one young woman talking into a cell phone, not the two I had assumed, who had mastered circular breathing or similar allowing her to emit spoken words without pausing for minutes on end.

    I can’t imagine who was on the other end of that absolutely continuous stream of speech.

  6. In the vein of creative sentencing, how about limits on her cell phone use for an unspecified period of time. She gets to use the phone — at home only — as long as she powers it with a treadmill, an exercise bike, or the like….

  7. I’m looking at the video. Yikes, what a minefield of inappropriate racial stereotypes there.

    As for the crime and punishment aspect. My suggestion is duct tape, large amounts of duct tape, wrapped around the offending orifice.

  8. This was not exactly a “quiet car” like those in the east. This was a long-distance train, and she was riding in Coach (on the Starlight). The train departs Oakland at about 10:30 PM and most people in Coach are either sleeping or trying to sleep. Amtrak’s policy is that quiet be maintained during sleeping hours (10PM – 6AM?), and she had apparently been asked to be quiet numerous times by both passengers and train staff, throughout the 16 hours.

    This is not a freedom of speech issue.

    It’s people like this woman that keep me from riding Amtrak in Coach; I always book a sleeping compartment. It only takes one jerk to ruin the ride for everyone. They should have thrown her off well before Salem. “Disrespected,” my ear.

  9. i guess i’m in this group too. i don’t answer my cell while driving and i couldn’t turn off the voicemail when the phone was turned off so i called my cell waited untill it went to voicemail the put the phone in front of th tv. now every time i turn it on it reminds me the voicemail is full.

    i liked the phone on greenacres. the one on top of the telephone pole.

  10. Mike & Otteray,

    I’ll join you two old fuds. I don’t text. I take a cell phone with me when I leave the house in case of an emergency. I rarely use it. I’m not much of a phone talker anyway.

  11. Mike, I do not text, nor do I have voicemail set up. All I use my phone for is a telephone. I don’t have speed dial either. I guess that makes two of us that are old fuds.

    The guy at the phone store has been trying to sell me a smart phone. He is at a loss when I ask him how it will improve my life and save time. Every time I see someone with a smart phone, I seem to see someone wasting time as they fiddle with the thing.

  12. Rudeness is a human trait for a small, but vocal percentage of us humans. It is not a new development but I suspect has been with us since we came out of the trees. It isn’t necessarily pathological behavior, but does reflect an inability to comprehend the effect of one’s behavior on others in social situations. Rude people definitely do not care or recognize the effect their behavior has on those around them. This goes to the extent that when they are asked to desist they feel unfairly put upon.

    Rudeness triggers anger in me and I usually will comment upon to the offender, this I know is not always wise, but it does serve to discharge my anger. While the death penalty does seem extreme I am sympathetic to Taibbi. My solution would probably be some type of kindred torture, like being locked in a small featureless room, with dozens of loud conversations (looped) being piped in and no cellphone for distraction.

    I do believe that cellphone usage has fast become an addiction in its relatively short existence. Last night at dinner out, my wife and I sat near a young couple, who were each texting as they ate dinner. Even if they were texting each other it seemed very weird to us. Old fart that I am I refuse to text because I can see nothing useful in it, but in today’s world I guess that makes me weird.

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