By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – As almost any daily commuter will tell you, riding the T isn’t necessarily a barrel of laughs.

But on Christmas night, an MBTA worker wanted to lighten the mood, so he made the public address system his personal caroler.

He typed in some of the lyrics to “Deck the Halls”, which were then scrolled across T information signs at the same time a robotic voice “sang” the song.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

It echoed throughout the Park Street stop on the Red Line.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi heard the song and, “thought it was great fun.”

The Harvard graduate student was on the subway at around 7 pm, returning to Cambridge from a Christmas-night Occupy Boston celebration; she is a member of Occupy Harvard.

Gharavi recorded a few seconds of the broadcast and posted it on her Twitter account.

“I think the person who did it obviously had a really great sense of humor and impeccable timing,” she says. “Immediately as I entered the station I heard this festive, very unexpected announcement message and it just repeated over and over and over and I wanted to capture it before the train came.”

She says she and about 30 other passengers loved hearing the song. They started smiling and laughing, wondering if the T had been hacked by someone inside or outside of the agency.

“I think they should really just look at it as a moment of really spontaneous public relations, and they should celebrate it,” she said.

Far from celebrating, the T plans to punish the employee when he goes back to work on Tuesday, “for entering an unauthorized message into the customer information system.”

That’s a move passengers like Gharavo aren’t so sure about.

“I thought this was such a little small event, that became a public event, a piece of public art on public transportation,” she explained.

“And I would be absolutely devastated if anything happened to him and I would urge the MBTA to rethink serious reprimand for him.”

Comments (32)
  1. Lisa Beth says:

    Punish the employee for what? Spreading holiday cheer and making MBTA commuter/CUSTOMERS happy? Way to go MBTA management.

  2. Mark Metzger says:

    @ MBTA you’re a scrooge you’re losing a customer when I’m in Boston!

  3. Christine V. says:

    Its Christmas! Where’s the Christmas spirit. I would rather crack a smile waiting on some platform then feeling frustrated because my train isn’t coming. How many times have I had to find other ways of getting to my destination? More than I can count. Give the employee a break. Fa la la la la….

  4. Italo says:

    After all, the MBTA does have its priorities at this time, committing important financial resources, time and energies to processing procedures towards disciplining an employee who typed a holiday message into their public address system at one of all their stations, on the evening of Christmas. Give me a break, T, please…!

  5. Samuel Sitar says:

    no punishment please. costumers like it. i agree with the 4 comments above mine.

  6. Dan says:

    Whoever the person is that doles out the punishment will be visited by three ghosts on next Christmas Eve and…

  7. Andrew says:

    It’s certainly better than the usual announcement that they run about “See something say something” which urges people to be ever suspicious of their fellow travelers ala”1984″ . Years ago there was a guy on the Green Line who sang over the PA system and people always had a smile on their face when he did. LIGHTEN UP MBTA!

  8. zaug says:

    when your waiting for your train all you hear blasting in your ear is threats from the T PAY YOUR FARE PAY YOUR FARE or you’ll be arrested or the registry of motor vehicles GO FIGURE I KNOW HOW to renew my licence online and i don’t want a car.. and you have people smoking at the red and blue line stops and no T police to be found.

  9. Gabriel Abbott says:

    I am sure the MBTA Worker would be fired if he posted that over the PA System at the Park Street station

  10. maxx says:

    This is just the T over doing it once again if noI complain then really whats the problem… Give him a verble warning and let it go . I mean..DAMN..this is the one time its not a customer complaint about the T..

    1. blackbear1 says:

      maxx is correct. a verbal warning should suffice. I’m sure the T has written policies re: authorized use of the PA system, as well they should. However, given their overall performance, and I have a list of my own grievances, standing down might be the wiser path to pursue.
      PS: the performance of this website is nothing terrific either or am I posting too fast and need to slow down.

  11. Deb says:

    What the T should do, if give him a freaking RAISE. He did nothing that endangered lives of the passengers. What he was make customers happy for once on the T. I hope some company snaps this guy up, because he is willing to take risks, he is creative and innovative. It is the rule breakers who tend to be more sucessful in life. Good luck guy :)

  12. Smiley Kittenpaws says:

    I think it’s great! It’s s non offensive and generic song to bring some holiday cheer. It certainly would have made me smile and I don’t really celebrate Christmas. =)

  13. Pam Henderson says:

    No punishment deserved.

  14. lucky maclean says:

    shame on the MBTA

  15. MomAJS says:

    I say, put the employee in charge of holiday cheer….Christmas, New years, Valentines Day, etc…..he did us all a nice favor. MBTA? Lighten up! You’re just angry you didn’t think of it.

  16. Lisa Beth says: This is the link for MBTA customer feedback. Please take the time to write to them in support of the MBTA employee.

  17. fred says:

    Didn’t the MBTA just have to hire a few workers back because they won arbitration. One fell asleep on the job and later tested positive for cocaine. Others were clearly breaking rules that should have terminated their employment. So they want to discipline someone who wanted to give patrons a little Christmas cheer. No wonder they are always in such a mess.

  18. anthony araujo says:

    The MBTA is not really known for being jolly regardless of the time of year, instead of being punished the worker should be praised.

  19. cj says:

    I think Maryam Monalisa Gharavi should gather some friends and Occupy MBTA till they promise not to punish the Joy-Giver.

  20. Matt says:

    A real prank would have been if he posted that all trains were on time today.

  21. JADA 70707 says:

    Please MBTA- don’t punish the worker! Christmas Eve in the subway is such a sad and dreary place, especially when the shopping crowds begin to thin out. That message probably lifted the spirits of all of those who had no choice but to ride the train that evening.

  22. Joe says:

    Just another example of how too far the other way Americas overly sensitive politically correct pendulum has swung. Attention kmart shoppers…. objective common sense has left the building!

  23. Joe says:

    If he worked for obamacare and did this in a soon to be government run doctors office, he would be immediately removed from the federal organ transplant list.

    1. petem says:

      Your first post made sense; then the Obama Derangement Syndrome took over. I feel bad for you man…it’s sad how misguided you and your fellow travelers are. You haven’t got the slightest idea what you’re talking about…

      1. Joe says:

        Well Pete I apologize. I should have been clearer for all the blindly defensive liberals out there. My point was that the government can’t run anything effectively. That goes for most state and federally run agencies or programs supported or enacted by either democrats or republicans. As an independent thinker and voter I am an equal opportunity political cynic who believes a republican run lemonade stand would fail just like one run by democrats. Do you really think even a bipartisan federal healthcare system would be any different?

  24. glc3185 says:

    How silly is this – Imagine wasting time and money on this. At least the person is not driving a train drunk or stealing profits.

  25. Joe says:

    I wonder if he put up the words to a Muslim prayer or song during Ramadan if he would me reprimanded? And if so, I wonder if the aclu would be suing the mbta on his behalf over the infringement of his civil liberties and subsequent religious persecution he has suffered. Where is the aclu on this one to defend the Christmas song? Yawwnnnn with an eye roll………. holding my breath waiting…………

  26. sam says:

    To all of you placing religious import to the song, please take the time to research before you comment. It was not a “christmas” song but a song that was generated to recognize the end of the longer nights and the start of the new sun. It was merely adopted as was the date by most religions. The sole reason for the “season” is the celebration of the start of the new agriculture year.

  27. The Final Word says:

    No one here seems to be the least concerned with how offensive a Christmas song would be to a fundamentalist Muslim waiting for a public train in Boston. He could even be provoked to violence, disabling the entire system for all travelers. Is it really worth the risk?

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