However, as the video clip of the incident emerged, there was a groundswell of anger over on the ubiquitous Twitter website – although for once, the media couldn’t cite a Stephen Fry quote as he was busy ramping up Daily Mail outrage elsewhere.
Twitter is fast getting a reputation as the residence of celebs and angry users.
Anyhow, Mayor Boris consideratly tweeted that he was suitably appalled by the video clip, giving the news media theirÂ headline at last.
Elsewhere, someone found the Facebook profile of the person involved – which lead to an interesting comment on his “wall” when the video was shown to everyone on the BBC’s lunchtime news.
Some have, with some justification, worried a bit about a mob mentality and whether the guy would get a fair hearing in light of the Court of Public Opinion.
I have two issues with this:
a) I used to work in customer care myself – and you learn very quickly how to fake being polite to customers. Internally you are chewing your hand off at the stupidity/pettiness/anger/etc of the person in front of you, but your face and demenour is full of niceness. Once the customer is gone, you’d walk off the shop floor and scream in the stock room!
So, I have very little sympathy with some of the comments that have emerged that maybe he was just having a bad day, or a customer had just annoyed him before the video clip was started. Accepted, we all have off-days at times but there is a difference between indifferent customer care from an employee suffering a hangover, and what we saw on the video clip.
Nothing on earth can justify behaving like that in public. Nothing at all.
b) The other worry is that the Twitter mob is baying for blood and that could be problematic. Initially, and despite being a fully signed up member of the mob,Â I had some sympathy with this view – but then I read on the Torygraph website that apparently TfL’s initial reaction to the video clip was to just hold one of its usual internal investigations.
A very loose way of saying “we hope this will just go away as we don’t want to annoy the unions”.
It was the Twitter fury and the subsequent Boris intervention that apparently caused TfL to suddenly grow some balls and actually take the issue seriously enough to suspend the employee.
On this topic, I really have only one opinion – the guy needs to be sacked. There is no training failure here, there is no excuse of having had a bad day. There simply is no excuse.
What’s the betting he just gets moved to a back-office job though?