A Boston subway dispatcher is finding himself in hot water after trying to give a little holiday cheer to train travelers this Christmas. In what is being dubbed a well-meaning effort, the dispatcher programmed the lyrics to "Deck the Halls" on an electric message board. Now, he'll face discipline for his actions.
Initially, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) officials said that he would face a potentially-major response from transit leadership. But now that the dust has settled a bit, they say he will endure a light wrist-slap for his actions.
MBTA authorities say that the punishment will be minor, but will potentially serve as a reminder of the fact that no sign should be used for anything outside of its intended purpose. Initially, a spokesperson for the transit authority said that the unnamed man could face a written warning, suspension -- even termination. The second and third options now appear to be off the table, as many have spoken out in support of the man at the center of the debacle.
“While I appreciate what they were trying to do, we’ll just remind the employee that in the future we’ll expect that he’ll resist the temptation to use the signs in that way,” said Richard A. Davey, the state's Secretary of Transportation. “There’s no malice here, just the employee trying to do the right thing. But we’ll ask him not to do it in the future.”
Perhaps the Twitter conversation that followed the news of the employee's potential troubles helped ease the punishment some leaders were willing to inflict. People tweeted about the issue, saying that the man should be given a pass. Twitter users dubbed the incident "FaLaLaCaper" and "falalalalagate."
Here are some of the more recent tweets using these terms:
Davey says the dispatcher is a good employee who has been with the MBTA for 20 years. You can watch video of the sign both "singing" and displaying the "Deck the Halls" lyrics here.