'I was scared': Saskatoon gas station manager shocked after attack, racist tirade

A 45-year-old man has been charged with assault and mischief after allegedly punching workers and making racist comments at a Saskatoon gas station on Sunday.

45-year-old man charged with assault after allegedly punching workers, making racist comments

Gas station manager Hedayat Ullah says a man started making racist comments and assaulting his staff. (David Shield/CBC)

It started out as a regular Sunday morning at the Canarama Shell gas station.

Manager Hedayat Ullah was busy pumping gas with his crew when he says a man he didn't know approached them from the sidewalk.

Ullah said the man started shouting at the workers, asking them why they were in Canada and saying that they don't have a right to be here.

"I said, 'Brother, I can't understand you,'" he said. "Then he ran to me and punched me in my chest."

Shocked, Ullah retreated into the service station's store with the alleged attacker following closely behind.

I thought Canada was for everybody.- Hedayat Ullah, Saskatoon resident

Surveillance video shows the man knocking the store's till off the counter and knocking over stands full of candy. For about five minutes, the man yelled at Ullah and a Filipino customer before leaving.

Shortly after, police arrested and charged a 45-year-old man with assault and mischief. The officer also asked for a mental health assessment.

The entire incident has left Ullah, who moved to Canada seven years ago from Pakistan, shaken.

"I was surprised, because I thought Canada was for everybody," he said. "I was scared."

Surveillance video shows a man approaching and chasing Hedayat Ullah into the gas station. (Supplied by Hedayat Ullah)

Customer Sanover Faruqi quickly called police after watching the man's behaviour. She couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"This is a peaceful country," she said. "We want a peaceful environment for us and for our kids."

She believes the attack was racially motivated and doesn't want to see anything like that ever again.

"In our community, other members talk about racism but I just ignore it because it's never happened in front of me," she said.

"I thought, 'OK, this might have been a misunderstanding,' but not today. I was so shocked. I was so scared."

Meanwhile, Ullah hopes justice is found through the courts.

"I'm thinking he will get proper punishment under the law," he said. "If you don't get any punishment, this thing will happen again and again."

The man made his first appearance at Saskatoon provincial court Monday morning.