A train employee in New Zealand is winning hearts online after she decided to take a stand against racism. As it happened, a passenger on a local train had been hurling abuses at another passenger for speaking Hindi asking him to go back to his own country if he can’t speak English. The driver intervened and stopped the train asking the abuser to get off, something that was not only supported by fellow passengers but was also appreciated by the city’s Mayor.
As a Metlink train headed from Wellington to Upper Hutt, a sixteen-old-year girl started yelling at an Indian-origin man who was “politely speaking Hindi on his phone to his wife”.
“[She was] saying ‘go back to your country, don’t speak that language here’,” another passenger on the train told RNZ Checkpoint.
According to the report, the conductor identified as JJ Philips was boarding the train when one of the passengers alerted her about the berated remarks. She approached the coach where the obnoxious event took place and tried to know what exactly happened.
“The Indian passenger was just minding his own business, talking to his friend in their own language,” the passenger told Philip. “It appeared this teenage girl had an issue with him talking in his own language and she was being racist and abusive towards him,” the report added.
When the girl’s tirade continued despite warnings and her mannerism didn’t change, the conductor asked her to get off the train.
“I thought to myself, ‘no, I’m not carrying you on this train. You’re off.'” When the teenager refused to leave, she told her she was calling the cops and the girl shrugged and said “fine”.
After the March Christchurch attacks that shook the nation to the core, the conductor said she had no reservations about stopping the train. “When it comes to something like this, not at all. After what we’ve been through, in March, there’s still tender feelings out there.”
The standoff continued for odd 20 minutes, however, fellow passengers didn’t mind. “We were just in awe that she had the courage to say ‘this isn’t on and I’m not going to put up with it, no matter who you are and whether you’re a paying customer or not – you can get off the train and find your own way home,” Stuff, NZ reported.
A Transdev spokeswoman said the teenager was “acting aggressively, swearing and repeating racist comments to several customers on the train who were speaking in other languages”.
“We don’t condone this type of behaviour here in New Zealand,” Phillips said.
Her move was not only applauded by passengers on the train but also by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, who even nominated her for the city’s Civic Safety award.
In a detailed post on Facebook, the mayor said he couldn’t have been prouder and thanked everyone “for standing up for another and calling out racism”.
“If good people don’t stand up and take action then bad things can happen, so it’s important that people like JJ stand up for what’s right,” Lester told Newshub.