While waiting for the bus, a veiled Muslim woman prepared to step on the platform as the driver pulled up to the stop. However, as soon as the driver failed to perform a simple task, the Muslim woman was determined to make her pay for the insult.
Zineb Benrochd was standing alone at a bus stop in Montreal, covered from head to toe in a burqa and niqab, which only shows the wearer’s eyes. While waiting for public transport, the 23-year-old Muslim woman looked up to see the female driver approaching the stop. However, it took just a few seconds for Benrochd to realize that she wasn’t getting on the bus.
In modern times, nearly any move a person makes could be seen as a “micro-aggression,” sometimes undeservedly labeling the culprit racist. Disturbingly, individuals often turn on one another in an effort to destroy a complete stranger’s livelihood over the mere accusation of such an offense. A simple bus driver may have become the latest casualty.
According to the CBC, Benrochd is demanding action against a female bus driver for failing to stop at the bus stop, which she claims is undeniably due to the woman’s Islamophobia. The veiled young woman says that she was the only one standing at the stop when the driver sped past, purposefully ignoring her even after she waved her arms in an attempt to garner her attention.
“I’m used to people telling me, ‘Go back to you country,'” said Benrochd, who grew up in Montreal. “But [the bus] is a public service. You do not have a right to discriminate against me. You do not have a right to choose not to give me my right to service.”
Benrochd wasn’t about to let the incident go without a fight. She told the news outlet that she quickly called a friend to come and pick her up and rushed to the next stop, beating the bus driver there. When the bus stopped, she confronted the driver, recording the heated discussion on her phone. The confrontation soon ended when the driver called the police.
“Well, I didn’t see you,” the driver replied.
“You looked at me,” Benrochd said.
“No, no, I didn’t see you. I saw that you were there after,” the driver said, becoming agitated.
Although the driver’s motive for failing to stop is unclear, Benrochd insists that it was blatant racism. She claims that the driver even glanced at her but continued on her way without opening the doors.
“It’s impossible for her not to have seen me,” Benrochd told CBC News a day after the incident.
Benrochd later posted her recording to social media, accusing the driver of discrimination, a claim that could not only cost the woman her job but could ruin her life. Once several individuals claiming to be colleagues of the driver commented on the post, Benrochd scoured their profiles, ultimately leading her to the driver’s account. It was then that she found what she believed to be “evidence” to confirm that the driver’s actions were malicious.
Benrochd scrolled all the way back nearly a decade in an attempt to uncover even a single comment that could solidify her accusation. After finding a handful of comments that she could point to as hateful, Benrochd then used social media to dox the driver and possibly get her fired or worse.
In 2010, for instance, the bus driver posted: “I’m so happy and in a good mood today, that I love everybody, except the [expletive] who wear the hijab or the veil. Sorry, but I can’t stand them.”
The driver has been forced to defend herself from the negative comments she made 9 years ago on social media. The old posts are being used as a catalyst to utterly ruin the woman’s life and means of income.
“I am trying to understand your customs and beliefs,” the driver said. “It really was not in bad faith. Even if I looked at you, sometimes we’re in our bubble. I’m sorry and if we had a respectful encounter instead of you filming me, I would have been able to give you my version.”
Although the transit agency has admitted that drivers often accidentally miss stops, they have confirmed that the driver is under investigation. Because of Benrouchd’s accusation and doxing, the woman faces not only termination but criminal punishment for a hate crime.
While the driver very well may have discriminated against the Muslim woman, to simply assume this without solid evidence and make the accusation against her is an injustice. It’s deeply disturbing that people are making a habit out of digging up offenses from decades past in order to support a possible recent offense. Are you the same person that you were 10 years ago?