They got the right one on the wrong day!
The head of NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund went off on social media about an Amtrak employee who asked her to give up her seat on the train to accommodate someone else—on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
WTF Is Really Going On?
Sherrilyn Ifill nearly broke the internet when she tweeted about the incident, claiming a conductor asked her to move with no explanation during her trek out of Washington D.C. to Baltimore on Friday.
Her initial tweet was liked by nearly 50,000 accounts and retweeted over 11,000 times.
“There are no assigned seats on this train,” Ifill started in her original tweet Friday. “The conductor has asked me to leave my seat because she has ‘other people coming who she wants to give this seat.’ Can you please explain?”
According to Ifill, she later spoke to the agent who asked her to move and the lead conductor told her she wanted to keep empty seats at the front, in contradiction of what she told the noted attorney earlier.
“I laid out the facts and made clear that I know that it is absolutely contrary to policy and unacceptable to pick one passenger from an unassigned seat and demand she move,” Ifill said in a tweet thread Friday.
The Twittersphere went into overdrive about the incident—some even drawing comparisons to when civil rights icon Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of the bus in 1955, which became a linchpin if the civil rights movement.
On Saturday, the federally funded national rail system said in a reply tweet that it attempted to reach out to Ifill numerous times to no avail.
The award-winning author and judicial expert disputed that claim stressing that not only did they have access to her on Twitter, but the company had her email address for the ticket information as well as her contact information provided as a Select Executive Plus customer.
Miss Lady was clearly here for all the smoke.
The lack of contact was either “system failure or lack of effort,” she tweeted.
Through their Twitter account, Amtrak publicly apologized to Ifill in a subsequent reply on Saturday.
“As of today, we’re changing our policy about how we respond on social media to ensure we’re faster and more transparent,” the company said.
Better late than never.
It is 2020 and even though it’s a national holiday weekend, there are no days off on social media.
And no days off for some trifling f#$%ery either.
Ifill said Amtrak did eventually connect with her offline in what she described as a tone both respectful and apologetic.
They promised to investigate the incident.
Taking no tea for the fever, the cousin of late PBS Newshour trailblazer Gwen Ifill publicly shared her displeasure in how the incident was handled.
“I am colossally disappointed in @Amtrak for both this incident & the way it was handled,” she tweeted.
“But this is emblematic of how companies so often fail in this space. I will submit a more formal complaint & closely monitor the review of this incident & of the conduct of the employees.”
I’ll take “Colossally in a Sentence” for $1,000.