A Wellington train conductor has been hailed as a hero for literally stopping a train in its tracks after a racist taunt between passengers turned nasty last night.
The train had left the Wellington Railway station for Upper Hutt but came to a halt after the conductor overheard a passenger racially abusing another for speaking Hindi on his cellphone.
One of the passengers on the train, who asked not to be named, said the incident unfolded at around 8pm last night.
“A young girl, about 16, was yelling at a passenger and saying ‘go back to your country, don’t speak that language here’,” she told.
“She said she was getting off at the next stop, and the conductor said ‘no you can get off at this one, I’m not putting up with that nonsense'”
The girl said “Well, I’m not getting off the train then,” so the conductor called the police.
“A lot of us had turned around and were watching the situation unfold.”
The passenger said nobody on the train was upset that the conductor stopped the train to remove the girl.
“Everyone was over the moon she decided to do that and stand up to that behaviour.
“We were just in awe that she had the courage to say ‘this isn’t on and I’m not going to put up with it, no matter who you are and whether you’re a paying customer or not – you can get off the train and find your own way home.’
The passengers waited around 20 minutes.
She said the victim of the racial abuse was very startled at first but seemed more or less unphased.
“If it was me, I’d be quite outraged .”
The conductor, JJ, said she was alerted to the incident by another passenger.
A Transdev representative said the youngster was “acting forcefully, swearing and rehashing bigot remarks to a few clients on the train who were talking in different languages.”
Phillips additionally apologized for the postponement, telling the travelers that the young girl’s conduct was not in the slightest degree worthy and she was granted with a series of adulation.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the occurrence was “a shocking example of racism, made worse by the fact this teenager had clearly learned these views from [elsewhere] – from friends or family.”
Phillips’ activities made Lester “unimaginably glad to be Mayor of this city” and he planned to name JJ for a Civic Safety Award and “yell them morning tea”.