Regina man shocked after stranger throws coffee in his face
Video recording of incident goes viral after being posted on social media
Falgun Vaviya couldn't believe it when a group of strangers approached him on his work break and threw coffee in his face.
"I was in complete shock," said Vaviya, 19. "I was lucky the coffee wasn't too hot, it was like mild, so it didn't hurt me."
It happened on Tuesday night, and he's still not sure why he was targeted.
Vaviya said he's never experienced anything like this before. He moved to Canada from India in January to study biology at the University of Regina. He lives with his extended family and works part-time at Walmart.
Typically, he takes his breaks in the lunchroom. The weather was nice, so he sat outside and played a game on his phone. That's when he heard someone call out "excuse me."
A stranger doused him with coffee as he glanced up — and then ran away, laughing. The person wasn't alone. He was trailed by two others who appeared to be taking a video.
Vaviya said the people were insulting him and making fun of him, but he can't remember the specifics of what they said. It all happened so fast.
He told his manager what happened, but at first he was nervous about reporting it to the police.
"I felt like if it was in my country, such a thing wouldn't get attention, so I felt I shouldn't report it," he said. He also had never had a personal interaction with police, in Canada or India.
However, he was encouraged to report by his colleagues, friends and family. The online community on social media also encouraged him to report it to the police, so he did.
"After the video went viral I think all [of] Regina was with me, everyone was sending me messages for support."
Police confirmed another similar incident reportedly happened at the Winners location in the east end. Officers are also looking into allegations of other incidents and ask anyone with information to file a report.
Vaviya noted that what happened to him was not typical of his Canadian experience thus far.
"I've always known Canadians for their hospitality and kindness," he said. "Everywhere I go I get respect and treated well."
However, he can't shake the fear that this could happen again. He said he hopes disciplinary measures are taken, so others aren't harmed psychologically or physically.
"If not, they will go on doing this prank with others and ... sometimes they might throw a hot coffee and the person might get hurt."
He cautioned others to remain aware of their surroundings, and mused about whether he could have run away if he hadn't been busy on his phone.
"I would suggest for everyone to stay alert."
A spokesperson for Regina Police Service said no charges have been laid in the reported coffee throwing incidents, but an investigation is underway.
The spokesperson said that people accused in a matter like this could face charges ranging from mischief to assault, if complaints are made.