The Metro can be a lonely place. In a tightly packed car, your puffy coat smushed against the puffy coat of your neighbor, the morning commute seems like an obvious place to share a little human connection, but most days, the lack of eye contact and chit chat among so many living creatures just induces anomie.
Riders lucky enough to commute on the Orange Line, though, enjoy a bit of humanity on their way to work, thanks to the vocal stylings of Lamour Rogers, a Metro train operator with a flair for theatrics and a strong desire for customers to spread out on the platform. For the past four years, Rogers has livened up the ride with stern admonishments to large groups trying to cram into one car, very specific information (he’s fond of pointing out the number of nonsensory mechanical doors on the train), and his voice.
Rogers’ voice, a sweet and spicy baritone when speaking but a featherweight tenor when singing—and he does sing on special occasions, including a short rendition of “You Are Not Alone” in 2009—oozes over station names like “Smithsonian” and overpronounces others like “L’Enfant Plaza” to comic effect. He breaks up the typical Metro driver script (“Capitol South, doors opening left side”) with dramatic pauses and Vincent Price–like octave drops. A Buffalo native who resides in Alexandria, Rogers dabbled in theater and choir in high school but says he’s not putting on an act when he drives the train. In fact, he claims to be bashful.
“I think that’s just me,” he says. “That’s just my character.”
Rogers, who’s been driving Metro trains for seven years, has gotten plenty of attention from riders, many of whom stop by his window at the end of the line to compliment his performance, including a judge. But he’s thrilled to hear that readers are reacting to him inside the car—I tell Rogers that his voice is the only thing on Metro that I’ve seen pull people from their smartphone screens to share a chuckle with their fellow riders. “I’m honored,” he says.
Listen to Rogers here: