Todd Hanson, 40, often chats with people on the bus in Santa Monica.It’s not quite speed dating, but it’s easier than going up to a random person on the train, said Ben Batorsky, 28, of Metro’s inaugural Valentine’s Day event.Inspired by transit love stories, the event sought to bring passengers together or at least get them to “fall in love” with Metro, said spokeswoman Anna Chen. Two Metro cupids in red and white costumes, wings and all, made rounds with passengers who rode from Union Station to Hollywood and back on designated cars adorned with hearts, garland-wrapped poles and cupid window stickers. As soon as Sam Oglesby stepped onto the Red Line car with roommate Jack Meighan, they introduced themselves to a nearby woman and began talking over the din – the roar of the train and the unusual chatter of nearly two dozen strangers.He bought them from a vendor after a Metro employee asked if he wanted to try speed dating.He stowed one away in his backpack, for his mom, and reached across the aisle to give another to Javier Ramirez, 32, to help him out “so he could find someone to give it to.”Ramirez hasn’t had a Valentine in nine years. “That’s up to God, if you want to give me one,” he said, holding the rose and looking toward the chatting crowd. Sometimes he’ll try and talk to people on trains, but girls act conceited, he said, adding that he was hoping to meet someone special.Tamara Ellis, 36, hopped on in North Hollywood because she wanted to try something new.
Media and Metro employees swarmed some of the emptier cars, but the energy was high on many trains, with daters standing in the aisles or chatting in groups.“Come talk to this guy!” someone shouted when Vincente Jimenez, 19, boarded the train, three roses in hand.Usually everyone on the train is in their own bubble with headphones in.She’s a little shy and started off watching others work the crowd, she said – especially the slick girl who walked on and found a match right away.
Enthusiastic Metro employees welcomed ladies to trains that lacked them or pointed out men to mingling women.A man in a neon vest blew his whistle to signal a switch every two minutes with a rhythmic shoulder shake.