Years ago, there was an article on the front page of either the Metro or Style section of the Washington Post headlined, “Where is Metro Going? Straight to Hell!” There was an illustration of a Red line train being operated by the Devil. The cab was glowing red and the Devil’s tail was hanging out of the window. One coworker copied the illustration and put it on T-shirts.
From that point forward, my coworkers and I began using the phrase “Straight to Hell” (which we abbreviated ‘STH’). Often, we would use the subject “Metro: Straight to Hell” for personal emails about Metro’s latest SNAFU.
One of those emails was sent to an ATC tech who in turn forwarded it to a long list of recipients – other techs, his friends, and some ATC supervisors. One or more of those supervisors then forwarded it to the superintendent of ATC. He did not look closely at the subject line and sent it on to many people in upper management, including the GM of Metro!
Needless to say, the superintendent then had some splainin’ to do. 😉
His reaction was to determine who originally sent the email (one of my coworkers) and then, since the culprit was a “B” technician, he issued one of his many nonsensical memos declaring that henceforth, only “AA” techs shall be allowed to use WMATA in-house email.
This was ridiculous for a few reasons:
1) The fact that the author of the email happened to be a B tech meant nothing. There was absolutely no reason to believe that the next embarrassing email would not come from a AA .
2) The email was not sent from my coworker’s WMATA email address. It was sent from his personal computer at his home using his personal email address, to another coworker’s personal email address.
3) None of us wanted to deal with WMATA email anyway. No good could come from it, and 95% of it had nothing to do with us (someone lost their watch in the third floor ladies room, it’s so-and-so’s birthday, etc).
We got out of using Metro email for years afterward!
Unfortunately, the Washington Post headline proved to be extremely prescient.