I got literally chased in the subway station this evening. By two young, ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from the Chabad sect, the same one all of my current coworkers and our biggest clients belong to.
I was minding my own business, listening to some Rob Zombie remixes in my headphones, walking fast across the mezzanine to the 4th Avenue line, when I saw them on top of the steps, with a large cardboard box on a luggage cart. They looked lost and indicated they wanted my attention, so I lifted on earpiece away from my head, thinking they were going to ask directions.
“Are you Jewish? Do you have a menorah at home?” one asked. “I don’t want one, thank you,” I replied and with the earpiece off heard a train arriving on the platform below. Halfway on my quick dash down the clear steps I saw it was the N train, the one I wanted, so I sped up even more.
Since I always ride this one at the very front of the train, standing right behind the driver’s cab, I practically ran along the platform to get to the front of the first car, waited for people to exit and got on, comfortably leaning against the bulkhead, facing backward.
Then I looked out the open door next to me to see those two guys looking straight at me, following the same path I took on the platform.
They got to the end of the platform, right outside the open train door a few inches away from me and one asked, “are you Jewish?”
I said, “I choose not to participate!” and the conductor played the announcement “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please!”
One reached into the box and the other said “we have a gift for you.”
But they weren’t quick enough, the train doors closed, me inside, them outside. I grinned to them through the window and the train rolled out of the station. I settled back to listen to my music in peace.