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An Artist Turned Real-Life Subway Horror Stories Into Etiquette Signs

"Please grasp poles between hands, not butt cheeks."

Posted on March 25, 2015, at 5:37 p.m. ET

A few months ago Chad O'Connell, an art director at a New York advertising firm, saw the NYC subway's new courtesy campaign and decided he could do better.

"They address some of the weird stuff people do on the subway," O'Connell told BuzzFeed News, "but they didn't even get close to how weird it can actually be."

@MTA #CourtesyCampaign targets nail clippers & subway dancers

O'Connell, a resident of Brooklyn, spent days researching the strangest and most horrible subway stories he could find, and made his own "Crucial Courtesies" campaign for his favorite seven.

He posted the results on a Tumblr.

Chad O'Connell

In 2013, a man found a real dead shark on the subway. No one ever knew why, but it was suspected to have something to do with Shark Week.

CNN / Via

O'Connell considered putting his pieces alongside the official MTA ones, but decided against vandalism.

"Instead I've been trying to get people to tweet these ideas and their own at the MTA with the hashtag #CrucialCourtesies," O'Connell said. "It would be so cool if the MTA started adding these crazier stories."

Chad O'Connell

Some are not quite SFW.

Chad O'Connell

Not going to show the real life documentation of this one, but it seems like it definitely happened on a 6 train.

He also illustrated the more common – but no less shocking – subway occurrences.

Chad O'Connell

"I saw the 'butt-pole' one myself, just a few months after I moved to New York," O'Connell told BuzzFeed News. "I couldn't believe it!"

Chad O'Connell

And also the grossest.

Chad O'Connell

"I'm actually guilty of subway puking myself," O'Connell confessed. "But I did the courteous thing and ran off the train and found a trash can! That's what you should do."

Chad O'Connell

This also unfortunately occurred.

O'Connell is considering adding to the Crucial Courtesies series with stories people have told him online. "A person responded to my series saying they saw a man eat a whole wheel of cheese on the train," O'Connell said. "That would make a great one."

Chad O'Connell

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.