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Driving Away The Bad Passengers

, , , , , , | Right | August 24, 2021

I’m sitting on a bus, in a seat near the middle. It’s at the very beginning of its route, so it hasn’t left the transit loop yet. The only other passenger is an older white man who’s dishevelled and stinks of beer, sitting near the front.

A young, pretty Asian woman gets on and sits down a few seats away from the man. She takes out her phone and starts looking at it, and the man swivels in his seat and leers at her.

Passenger: “Hey, girlie!”

I can’t see her face from where I am, but I can see her shoulders tighten and she holds her phone higher.

Passenger: “Hey! D’ya speak English? You wanna learn some? I’ll teach ya! Come sit next to me!”

I’m wondering what I should do, when the bus driver calls from his seat.

Driver: “Sir, please do not bother the other passengers.”

Passenger: “Mind your own business.”

The driver gets up and stands in front of the man. 

Driver: “Sir, the safety and comfort of the passengers is my business.”

The man starts laughing. 

Passenger: “What, you want her for yourself, huh? What, you think she’d be interested in you, you [racial slur]?”

This statement is so outrageous that I actually snort. Even apart from the racism, the driver is a quite handsome young man, tall and athletic; his uniform and turban are clean and neat, and his beard is well-groomed. The contrast between him and the slovenly, drunken older man couldn’t be starker.

Driver: “I must ask you to get off the bus now.”

I’m briefly worried that the man will get even more belligerent, but in the face of direct confrontation, he backs down and gets off, still grumbling. While he’s getting off, I move to sit across the aisle from the woman.

Me: “Are you all right?”

Although she’s obviously very embarrassed, she nods, and then she looks at the driver.

Woman: “Thank you. I was a little afraid.”

Driver: “No problem, miss. Besides, if my mother and my wife found out I let a man talk to a woman like that, they would never let me hear the end of it.”