Watch out ‘People of Walmart’: ‘Boston T People’ pokes fun at ‘unique’ MBTA riders

A man in a rainbow wig, snapped at Government Center.
via Boston T People

Riding the T can often be frustrating, uncomfortable, and even exhausting, but after years of some chuckle-worthy commutes, one passenger has decided to showcase just how amusing it can be.

Last Thursday, 22-year-old Erika Sheldon created a “Boston T People” Facebook page in which she posts photographs of her fellow T passengers, a la People of Walmart.

“People of Walmart didn’t inspire me, but it gave me the confidence to do it. I was concerned people would be upset, but I thought, ‘If People of Walmart’ can do it, why can’t I?’” said the Suffolk University alumnus.

Sheldon, an avid T rider with an unforgiving sense of humor, updates the page daily with pictures she snaps of the more “unusual” sights, like slumped over drunken passengers, the unfortunately dressed or those with the most hilarious facial expressions.

“It started in college – I would commute back and forth, and just see all these crazy people,” she told Metro yesterday.

No bad hair day is safe from Sheldon’s smartphone, so you think riders would be upset, but so far, people seem to approve.

“I thought I would get more negative feedback, but I haven’t. People have been really pumped about it,” she said.

The one negative comment so far came on Reddit: “One person said, and pardon my language, that ‘it was a pretty (expletive) thing to do.’ But that’s it,” Sheldon said.

While Sheldon said she has not gotten “caught” yet by her photo subjects, a spokesman for the T said her Facebook page does not break any of the MBTA’s policies.

One of the page’s fans, Nikki Faye Frankel, told Metro that one of her favorite activities is people watching, and described the MBTA as “fertile grounds” for it.

“When you are in public you should know that you are being observed. In this technological age, no one can expect privacy when it comes to their image being reproduced without consent on the Internet,” Frankel said, which is why she has no objections to Sheldon’s page, or any other online site that pokes fun at T riders.

“One can also just search the (MBTA hashtag) on Twitter, but it’s nice to have all the photos on one page,” she said.

Since last week, the page has picked up only about 100 “likes,” but if more express an interest in it, Sheldon plans to start a Boston T People website.

“I already bought the domain, because Go Daddy was having a sale. If people like the Facebook page, then I will put the effort into making a website,” Sheldon said.

Riders are invited to snap their own shots and send them to her on Twitter (@BostonTPeople).


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