Dear Urban Diplomat: do people have the right to eat a meal on the streetcar?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I get queasy easily, and I can’t stand it when people eat food on the streetcar. I’ve seen passengers wolfing down Big Macs (there are several McDonald’s outposts on my 501 route) and sucking back pad Thai—I even saw a guy devour a half-rack of ribs. I’ve had to get off a few times because I’ve been on the verge of vomiting. Do I have a right to demand they keep their food wrapped up?
—My Name Is Hurl, PARKDALE
The very thought of Ribs Guy grabbing the handrails with his saucy fingers has me reaching for the sanitizer. Eating anything on public transit that’s pungent or requires two hands, napkins or flatware is bad form, but it’s not illegal. The TTC brass has dismissed the idea of a ban several times because it’s next to impossible to enforce, and because people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, may have to eat en route as a matter of survival (although I’m sure a saltine or two would do the trick just as well as a tub of pad Thai). Which means you have the right to ask, but the offender has an equal right to say “Bite me” with impunity.
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