I’m in New York for work and last night at West 34th and 6th I see a man and woman exit a cab. To help you keep track of who’s who, I’ll call them The Lady and Angry Guy. They’re in their late 20s or maybe early 30s.
I think he kept—while drunk swaying—explaining to her that he tipped sufficiently and she is crying, hanging on him, swearing he’d only tipped a dollar. I get involved because he’s at a high level but her level of losing it is basically at a Shelley DuVall in The Shining. The Lady is hyperventilating. So a man in a scooter—Scooter Man—also approaches to find out what’s up. Angry Guy is like, HEY! SCOOTER MAN! GTFO! I’m asking The Lady if she’s okay while Scooter Man spins ride around and tries to run Angry Guy over. Now she’s totally losing it. DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED, she screams. And I’m dumb and say that it seems like maybe Angry Guy was asking for it and she starts defending him and I realize I need to chill and just remove her from this chaos or her head will explode. Angry Guy, by the way, is totally nonplussed and just keeps asking her to stop hanging on him.
I ask, “Do you need help?” The Lady said, “I’m having trouble controlling my response so please.” This, by the way, blew my mind. I wish that I, while having an episode, could have this sort of self awareness. I’ll remember that line forever. But we’re still in the street and Scooter Man has returned! Full speed, he puts his leg out to kick Angry Guy. She goes mad. So I don’t know what’s up but I ask someone to get the police who are right across the street. Scooter Man comes back, rides up on the curb, and punches Angry Guy in the back! I’m like, “Yo! You need to go because the cops are coming” because while I think his approach is flawed I think he’s coming from a good place.
To get The Lady in a better spot, I tell Angry Guy that he has to get off the street for their own safety. He’s telling me, “What did I do to deserve what that guy is doing? I’ll stay right here.” He postures like he’s going to advance on Scooter Man, who is gone. The Lady is melting down. So I say to him, “Fairness doesn’t matter right now because this dude on the scooter is trying to kill you.” And I finally pull him off on to the sidewalk. He’s wobbly but appreciative. He’s totally wasted. The cops arrive arrive and engage the couple. I walk away to give this thing a little space.
Side Note: While I’m walking away, this brown dude ran into me at full speed and was super apologetic. I was like, “No worries!” And he shook my hand and said, “Thanks. I didn’t do anything but I saw you with those cops and whenever I see the NYPD I just run.” So many layers.
Finally, I circle back and talked to the cop for a minute and he said, “This is NYC. Scooter Man had the right of way as long as they were in the street.” I don’t know how true that is, but if it is Scooter Man knew what was up the whole time, and evidentially a scooter is a decent vigilante weapon.