It's not the first time I've had to use my drill-sergeant voice on the subway, but it is the first time I got an entire subway car full of people to give me a round of applause (and to have someone give me $20 for my effort).
I was coming home tonight from work, and got on the uptown A train at Columbus Circle. It wasn't packed, but it was decently full, so I stood near the end by one of the standing poles. As we left the station a guy (we're going to call him Drama Guy) who was standing opposite of the door I came in on started pacing and generally tweaking me out, so I stopped reading and was kind of giving him the side eye. Presently he got in the face of another guy (we're going to call him Just a Guy) who was standing near the opposite door, started saying something, then started shouting. As Just a Guy tried to lean back Drama Guy started to scuffle, bringing up his arms. Drill-sergeant mode kicked in and I started shouting and got between the two, when Drama Guy started to lunge again I blocked him while a third guy (let's call him Rear Tackle) pulled him off and held him down on a seat.
By this point the people on that seat had left and when Drama Guy managed to get back up (I'm still shouting the entire time) Rear Tackle and I blocked him while I waved at the handful of other people still at the very end of the car (including Just a Guy) to to move the the other end. By this point the train had stopped (somewhere near the Natural History Musuem) and sat there for a very long time before we started moving again. By this point Rear Tackle and I were standing warily watching Drama Guy, who had somewhat calmed down and was pacing around one of the standing poles.
We eventually got to 125th Street, where we pulled in slowly, then stopped just as we reached the platform. I could hear an NYCT radio crackling at the other end of the car, and when I looked back I could see the conductor getting on and closing the door. We pulled all the way in, I saw a group of cops looking in the windows so I leaned over, tapped on the glass, and wiggled my thumb back at Drama Guy, who by this point was standing near the exit. The doors opened, he got off, and I leaned out long enough to watch the cops walk him up the stairs. None of the cops seemed interested in witnesses, so I got back on the train and sat down. While we were waiting for the other A train across the platform on the local tracks to leave, an older lady who had been sitting right the fracas came up to me, thanked me, told me my voice scared the shit out of her, and made me take a $20. As we pulled out, she got the car to give me a round of applause.
I have absolutely no idea where that voice comes from, but I'm pretty sure the Old Man would have been proud of it.