If you read this blog regularly (thank you), you know I am a big believer in privacy and generally not a fan of the many ways in which technology has infiltrated our public and private lives. I have also said that I am immensly thankful that cell phones, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc. were not around when I was a misbehaving teen and a reckless 20-something. Some of my more impulsive antics would have provided great fodder for today's online rubberneckers and I (and everyone else of my generation) really dodged a bullet there.
My general position is that, just because you have the ability to snap a photo of someone and send it around the world, doesn't mean that it's appropriate. But, something happened here in Toronto recently that has me rethinking my views on our right to privacy. If you live here, you already know that yesterday, commuters on our subway system witnessed, photographed and shared a photo of a fare collector in full slumber (reclining, eyes closed, mouth open) as he was "working". As I write this, the photo has gone viral and news is spreading around the world.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is investigating the situation and my normal response would be to echo their request that we not "jump to conclusions" but this time I'm going to break my own rules and declare this unacceptable. This is not the place to rant about my belief that unions breed complacency but, as an entrepreneur who has steered my company through the worst recession in my lifetime with zero government help or support, during which time I had to bear the injustice of a garbage workers' strike based on ridiculous, outdated demands, I have had enough!
The taxpayers of this city have put up with too much for too long and, all things considered, have been very loyal, gracious and patient with the TTC in the face of ongoing fare hikes with no improvement in service. From an etiquette point of view, I have to say that I have always been disappointed with the level of service of TTC fare collectors. Even though I always greet them pleasantly, most never even raise their heads when I try to buy a ticket and many manage to conduct the entire transaction without lifting their eyes from their newspaper. I walk away feeling thoroughly invisible.
As a result, this group has failed to build any goodwill with me and I have difficulty digging deep to find any compassion for this particular employee. So, this time around I'm going to go against my instincts and, I say to those who would share this photo virally, post away! Maybe it will finally shake things up.
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