Bus driver, security made Kitchener man feel safe after harassment at Charles St. terminal

Alim Nathoo says he was harassed by another man at the Charles Street bus terminal in downtown Kitchener Sunday night, but a bus driver and two security guards made him feel safe. He wants others to learn from his experience and to stand up to bullies.

'We need to stand up and say something when situations occur,' Alim Nathoo says

Alim Nathoo spoke to The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Wednesday morning about being harassed at the Charles Street bus terminal in downtown Kitchener Sunday night. Nathoo says a man made fun of the pins he wears on his jacket and called him names, but a bus driver and security came to his aid. Nathoo says he hopes people will stand up when they see bullying taking place. (Craig Norris/CBC News)

A Kitchener man says he is thankful a Grand River Transit driver and security guard helped him when another man began to harass him Sunday night.

Alim Nathoo, 28, had arrived at the Charles Street Terminal in downtown Kitchener just before 9 p.m. on Sunday after a trip to Windsor. He was getting ready to walk home when he spotted a bus driver he knew. The two struck up a conversation and while they were speaking, a third man walked up to them.

That man asked the driver a question, then turned to Nathoo – and Nathoo said that's when the man harassed him.

"This individual was telling me that I should go back to my country and then he was calling me the c-word and calling me a goof, a retard, and he even said, are these button Mickey Mouse? So he was obviously making fun of me," Nathoo said.

Nathoo responded, "Please don't speak to me that way." But the man continued to berate him, he says.

The driver told Nathoo he could sit on the bus and the driver called security. Two security guards arrived - one spoke to Nathoo, while the other escorted the other man off the property.

GRT takes feedback seriously

Nathoo said he was very happy with how GRT staff handled the situation.

GRT director Eric Gillespie said he is pleased staff helped Nathoo feel safe.

"I am very pleased to hear that our operator and security took the situation so seriously. We are very committed to ensuring the safety and comfort of all of our customers," he said.

The one thing that we don't do, and this is quite sad, is when we see something, we don't say something.- Alim Nathoo

"Anytime a customer contacts us, good or bad, we document it and if we're able to, take that information and follow-up, say with the bus operator or a customer service agent directly about the experience, we do," he said.

Complaints are investigated and employees may be disciplined.

"In the cases where the people have good experiences, again, where we're able to follow that through to the employee involved, we take time to recognize that employee and thank them," Gillespie said, adding he writes a note to the employee.

"It is really exceptional when people take the time to call us and tell us good things and we want to make sure that that message gets directly to the employee that's delivering such great service."

'Stand up and say something'

Nathoo, who works as a computerized note-taker at Conestoga College, said he would like people to learn from his experience.

"We need to stand up and say something when situations occur," Nathoo said. "The one thing that we don't do, and this is quite sad, is when we see something, we don't say something."

People need to "be more kind to one another," he said.

"If you witness bullying, or you're a victim of bullying or victim of racism, discrimination or anything of that specific nature, just don't be a bystander. Stand up, say something, if it's serious, report it to a security officer, police, or if you're at a store, report it to the manager," he said. "We need to stand up and do what is right."


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