A 71-year-old woman was told, “You’re an ugly white person.” Not only was she the victim of verbal intimidation, but she was also physically attacked, all over asking a simple question.
A 71-year-old woman, who only wanted to identify herself as Linda, was on a Boston-area Red Line train during a late afternoon commute when she was attacked after asking a fellow passenger about a seat. According to Linda, she simply asked the woman, later identified as 23-year-old Jada Campbell, if she would move her bag so that she could sit down.
Campbell’s purse was taking up an otherwise vacant seat. It was the only one available, so Linda simply asked her to remove her belongings and make room for her. Linda never expected the reaction she received. Campbell allegedly responded by calling the 71-year-old woman an “ugly white person.” Sadly, the verbal assault was only the beginning.
“It had been a long week,” Linda explained. “I said, ‘Excuse me’ three times. I finally got down to her face because she was just ignoring me and I asked her if she would remove her bag, and she said, ‘No, I don’t want anyone sitting next to me.'” Things escalated with Jada Campbell becoming enraged and allegedly turning violent, hitting and even tripping Linda in a senseless attack.
“You’re an ugly white person,” Campbell reportedly told Linda, getting personal before getting physical. The 23-year-old reportedly stood up and struck the 71-year-old woman in the head and back with a closed fist. The blow to Linda’s head left her stunned, CBS reported. Feeling threatened, she said she decided to move but Campbell intentionally tripped her on the train rather than letting her walk away.
Fearing her own safety, Linda decided to get off at an early stop, but Campbell reportedly followed her. “[Campbell] was abusive, ranting and raving, ‘I’m going to take you down and have it out,'” Linda recalled. Luckily, two other passengers had witnessed what was unfolding and followed Linda off the train in an apparent effort to defend the older woman from her much younger attacker.
“I had two good Samaritans come off with me, and they were protective,” a grateful Linda said. “[Campbell] came up and said, ‘Let’s have it out here and now,’ took off her earrings, and threw stuff down.” And, Campbell allegedly didn’t just reserve her threats for Linda. In fact, when police arrived on the scene, she reportedly told witnesses, “If I see you on the streets, I’ll murder you.”
“We were all shaking afterward,” Linda said. “She was such a force,” the elderly woman added. Campbell was accused of resisting arrest, but her struggle with officers was all in vain. She was taken into custody and charged with assault and battery on a person over 60, witness intimidation, and disorderly conduct in addition to resisting arrest, according to NBC.
Unfortunately, Campbell isn’t the only one to behave in such a way on public transportation. A similar incident over a seat was captured on video when a New Jersey Transit passenger refused to move her bag on a crowded Trenton-bound North East Corridor train, New Jersy 101.5 reported. The commuter train was packed and there was standing room only, but that didn’t seem to matter to the rude, young woman. Other passengers, however, didn’t stand idly by when the woman refused to move her designer handbag.
The woman was obviously not too pleased to be told she needed to make room for other passengers. Although she didn’t get violent, she did get belligerent with other passengers and even transit staff. Similar to the situation involving Jada Campbell’s attack on Linda, the woman’s bad behavior didn’t pay off. Instead, the passenger, who was accused of “Femspreading,” was eventually removed from the train by police after causing a 25-minute delay, according to Daily Mail.
Riders on any form of public transportation know space is often at a premium and shouldn’t expect to have a seat reserved for their belongings. That’s what your lap is for. While it’s understandable that some people like their space and prefer not to have others close to them, that’s a risk you take with public transportation. If you don’t like it, then you should be the one to stand, so you don’t have to worry about anyone sitting next to you. Or, as the one transit worker was heard saying, “If you want your personal space, you’ll have it outside.”