A celebatory group of 11 professional women who had looked forward to this trip since November, was removed from California’s famous Napa Valley Wine Train (NVYT) and greeted by police for laughing too much and disturbing other customers, as reported in SFGate on Monday.
The women, who were sampling several different varieties of wine on the train, were escorted off the train in front of the other patrons and then taken directly to officers of the Railway Police and St. Helena Police. Although the women were not charged with anything, the whole experience was totally humiliating for them and unlikely to be forgotten for a very long time.
According to NVYT officials, the women, who were all wearing matching T-shirts, were “warned” to tone down the laughter before being taken off the train. However, the women believe that the removal was racially motivated.
Perhaps the women, who were given a full refund, pictures and a van to pick them up, would have passed the removal off as a some sort of unintentional mix-up, were it not for the NVYT employee who posted malicious information about the women and their removal from the train on Facebook. In that post, the anonymous employee made it appear that the entire episode was the fault of the women who were removed from the train:
“Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved. Many groups come on board and celebrate. When those celebrations impact our other guests, we do intervene.”
The post has been deleted; however, the emotional scar from the totally denigrating, humiliating and abhorrent experience will remain. Lisa Johnson, 47, who was among the women removed from the train, stated that she and the other women would like an apology from the NVYT:
“For the humiliations they caused to us as professional women.”
California is one of the very most progressive and tolerant states in the country, which is why this author is perplexed that something like this could happen in that state. Napa Valley, which is north of San Francisco and on the fringe of the Bay Area, has hosted visitors of all demographics to its infamous wineries for nearly a century. One would hope that with that much of a successful track record, that the Napa Valley wine community would exhibit more expertise in dealing with people. Perhaps Johnson said it best:
“They knew they were out of place.”