In Japan last week, a man decided the shots of pain hurtling down his digestive tract were more important to address than remaining in control of his train hurtling down the tracks at 93 miles per hour.
The “bullet train” driver’s actions are under investigation after the unnamed 36-year-old left his post and headed for the bathroom May 16 on a Tokyo-to-Osaka route because of a stomach ache, the BBC reported.
A conductor manned the controls – but didn’t touch anything – during the three minutes the driver was attending to his situation. At issue is the fact that the conductor was not licensed to operate the train.
“This has never happened before,” Central Japan Railway public relations representative Ryumon Hashimoto told CBS News. He said the driver told superiors he didn’t want to cause a delay.
“Many of our conductors are licensed to take the controls,” Hashimoto said. “But this one wasn’t.”
The 160 passengers were unaware, and the Hikari 633 train arrived one minute late to its destination.
The Guardian reported that the investigation was launched because of that 60 second delay.
If you’re into Japanese geography, the specifics included the train was between Atami station and Mishima station in Shizuoka Prefecture, a spokesperson for Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) told CNN Travel.
Both the driver and the conductor are now facing disciplinary action, and the train operator has apologized for the “extremely inappropriate” behavior.
The top operating speed of a bullet train is 200 mph. They are all controlled by central command systems, according to a CBS report, and the driver’s role is “essentially to fine-tune speeds to smooth out the ride for passengers — and step in should there be any system failure.”