Now that Pope Francis is officially in D.C., it’s time to get down to business and discuss the major problems plaguing our society today. And since Francis has long been lauded as”The People’s Pope,” what better way to bring up an issue than to circumvent politics altogether and simply start up a petition via social media?
That’s exactly what D.C. resident Noah Rosenheck was thinking as he was stuck on the Metro Blue Line train, according to the Washington Post and DCist. Rosenheck decided to start a Change.org petition asking the pope to bless D.C.’s Metro system “so that it actually works.”
Rosenheck offered a pretty honest and simple opening line on the Change.org page: “At this point I’m willing to try anything.” His letter reads:
Dear Pope Francis,
Our Metro system is having some troubles. All of DC would be grateful if you could find the time to bless it during your upcoming stay. Maybe a Papal Blessing is just what it needs.
The petition acquired hundreds of digital signatures within just a few hours, and as of Tuesday, Sept. 23 at noon, approximately 2,400 signatures had been added to the petition.
The trending petition even led to more suggestions of what Pope Francis should bless before he leaves D.C. this Thursday: the baby panda? D.C. roads? The Redskins? The entire federal government?
Considering that nearly 75% of internet users frequent social media sites, it’s no surprise that a hashtag has been trending specifically for the Pope’s visit (#PopeInDC). But D.C. residents know that social media is also pretty valuable for another reason: complaining about the city’s public transportation, specifically in regards to the Metro.
Perhaps even less surprising than the Papal Hashtag is the fact that the Green and Yellow Metro lines actually shut down on the eve of His Holiness’s visit because of a power outage. According to local news station FOX 5, a power outage at the Georgia Ave-Petworth station caused hundreds of passengers to become stranded on the trains in one of the Metro tunnels.
The Georgia Ave-Petworth and Columbia Heights stations were both closed on Monday night, while the Green and Yellow lines were suspended between U Street and Fort Totten while emergency officials worked to restore the power. According to FOX 5, over 100 firefighters responded to the power outage in order to “escort small groups of 25 people out [of the tunnel] to safety while the entire ordeal lasted nearly two hours.”
The power was finally restored around 11 p.m. and all Metro lines seem to be up and running, but maybe that petition really should be taken seriously.