Kumar Arya, a City of Houston engineer, was summoned to his department's downtown offices last summer to defend his rejection of a Metro site plan. He didn't think the design would work.
Leaving the meeting, Arya decided to ride the Metro rail back to his office at 3300 Main St.
He says he stepped off the train, was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground, then the assailant ripped off some jewelry Arya was wearing. He was injured - a broken nose and cut-up face, with lacerations severe enough to require stitches.
Lesson -- Never, ever reject a Metro site plan.
(Actually, there's no indication Metro had anything to do with the assault. Then again, that could just prove how adept they are at this type of thing.)
Hair Balls first heard about the assault from a source we talk to from time to time, and it took a couple weeks before Arya returned our calls. Point is, Arya isn't launching a smear campaign against Metro or eager to talk about the incident.
But he basically confirmed the details of the attack to us. And then things got weird.
We called Alvin Wright, a spokesman for the city's public works department, to see what people in his office knew about the attack. Wright initially told us he couldn't find any public works employee that had been assaulted, and after we gave him Arya's name, we received this voice-mail message from him:
"The information that I have is that there was a public works employee that was on the Metro rail who actually tripped on the platform...I don't know who gave you your information, but I've checked with supervisors, the actual guy's supervisor, and he said, 'No, he said he tripped and fell.'"
Arya was shocked to hear that explanation, and said he never told anyone that he tripped and injured his face. However, Arya never filed a complaint to the police, and apart from a city employee that took him to the hospital and several emergency room doctors, he said he didn't tell a lot of people about the robbery.
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"I didn't know [where to file a report]. I was in bad shape, I couldn't even think about what I could do," Arya said. "If you don't report it immediately, things go away. I could cry, but no one will listen."
That left the mystery of where Wright received his information that Arya had tripped, fell and injured his face. From Metro's Assassin Squad, perhaps?
"That was the assumption because he fell on the platform. He was injured on the platform, that's what we were told. Hearsay, nothing but hearsay," Wright said. "If he was assaulted on the Metro rail, you'd want to let Metro know, let their police department know, let HPD know. If there's somebody out there assaulting people, you'd want to tell the public."
-- Paul Knight