A Wellington, New Zealand train conductor offloaded a reportedly racist passenger from the train after she abused a male passenger for speaking in Hindi on his cellphone. The passenger is said to have yelled, “Go back to your own country, don’t speak that language here”.
Unhappy with her reaction, conductor JJ Philips told her to get off the train. The train was literally stopped in its tracks to offload the 16-year-old girl.
The conductor was then hailed as a hero. The train was bound for Upper Hutt from Wellington Railway Station on Thursday.
The horrific incident took place when the girl was telling the other passenger to go to his own country who was talking in Hindi on the phone. The conductor soon arrived on the scene and told the girl she had to get off to which the girl obviously refused.
After she refused to get off the conductor called the police. It took 20 minutes to resolve the situation and the train to get moving again.
“She said she was getting off at the next stop, and the conductor said ‘no you can get off at this one, I’m not putting up with that nonsense’,” a passenger told RNZ.
“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.”
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.”
Phillips also apologised for the delay, telling the passengers that the girl’s behavior was not at all acceptable and she was awarded with a round of applause.
“We don’t put up with language like that, of any kind. We carry passengers to and from A to B, and we want our passengers to get there in a safe manner. After what we’ve been through in March, there’s still some tender feelings out there … all I could do was just apologise to the other passengers,” Phillips said.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the incident was “a shocking example of racism, made worse by the fact this teenager had clearly learned these views from [elsewhere] – from friends or family.”
Phillips’ actions made Lester “incredibly proud to be Mayor of this city” and he intended to nominate JJ for a Civic Safety Award and “shout them morning tea”.