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Utah - The one-hour trip Tuesday evening was meant to commemorate a 21st birthday. But 20 minutes in, the memory was tarnished.

Four women en route from Salt Lake City to an outdoor concert in Odgen, Utah, were chided by a train worker for going to the restroom together in an exchange that was caught on video.

The friends had a habit of doing things in a group for their safety, Lexi Beckstead told The Washington Post. This was especially true while on trains run by Utah Transit Authority, which Beckstead said has a reputation for having suspicious riders. Camille Hoerner and a woman who could not be identified went first and saw no signage notating a 'one person per stall' rule, according to Beckstead.

Hoerner, who did not respond to a request for comment, told the Salt Lake Tribune, that the two were exchanging tampons in the stall when "someone started shaking on the door and yelling, 'Only one at a time.'" Hoerner, who was unsure who banged on the door, said she got out but didn't see anyone, adding that "it kind of scared us."

After the pair returned to their seats, Alyssa Childes and Beckstead went to the restroom with the unidentified woman. They returned within 10 minutes and were passed by UTA train worker Jeremy Shumway, who came back to their seats and began to yell, Beckstead said.

"This ain't porn hub, this is public transit," Shumway said, according to Beckstead's retelling. The four women and bystanders began to argue with Shumway.

"You called us porn stars," Childes said in a Facebook video seen more than 217 000 times.

"I don't care," Shumway responded, alleging in the video that he received multiple complaints about the group of friends. "You have no idea what we catch people in the bathroom doing."

The women said they made it clear they went to the restroom together for their safety and to exchange feminine hygiene products.

"Why does it take all of them three minutes" to be in the restroom, asked Shumway, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "Were you putting [tampons] in each other?"

"We are women," Childes said. "We need tampons sometimes."

UTA spokesman Carl Arsky told The Post in an email that Shumway has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

"UTA deeply regrets this incident and expects our employees to always behave professionally and respectfully," Arsky said. He confirmed there is no signage dictating a 'one person policy,' and the unwritten rule is likely to become an official policy in light of this incident.

Childes told The Post she has spoken with UTA officials and they "apologised profusely."

"Its not OK to have an employee treat women like this," Childes said.

Beckstead and Childes said they do not view this incident as an isolated one but a societal problem.

"Men have been taught that [Shumway's] behavior is OK," they said. "There's nothing sexual about going to the bathroom."

Women and girls are sometimes made to feel ashamed of their periods, Janette Robinson-Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness, a reproductive justice organisation based in Los Angeles, told The Post. America has some growing to do to around periods, she said.

"Young women should not be shamed, humiliated or harassed because they are trying to help each other."

The Washington Post