• Dipanshu Grover

CBU STUDENT FACES VIOLENCE AT WORK

We live in a very beautiful island. Even though the weather is cold, the community is warm and welcoming. Where people greet each other with a smile, it is sad to hear about someone facing violence at work.


Many International students in Cape Breton work as cab drivers as their part time jobs to cover the expenses while studying at the university. Akashdeep Brar, an International student who hails from Punjab, India has been working as a cab operator for more than a year. He is also working at CBU in the Community Engagement program which helps to connect students to various businesses at different locations in Cape Breton.


Akashdeep Brar , an International student from India , stands near the parking lot at Needs Convenience store in Whitney Pier. Brar , who works as cab driver, was attacked by one of the customers during his work shift on Sunday morning. But,it was not like his usual work shift when he was attached by a passenger in Whitney Pier on September 29th at 4:00 am.


The Staff at Caper Times interviewed Akashdeep Brar regarding the incident. Following is an excerpt of that interview:


CT: What happened to you while you were at work on Sunday morning ?


AB: I was working on my Saturday night shift. I got a call for cab from Needs Convenience in Whitney Pier at around 4:00 AM on Sunday morning. Just when I reached there, the customer who looked like in his early 20’s got into my car and asked me to drive him to Sydney Mines.


CT: So, what happened next ?


AB: I asked him for the upfront money and from the very first moment he was being aggressive.He seemed like he was intoxicated with some kind of drug.


CT: What made you think that the customer was intoxicated ?


AB: He was not behaving normally as he was clenching his teeth all the time .I have been working with the cab business since last seven months now and have dealt with many people, but this was first incidence that a customer was being aggressive.


CT: So, did the customer pay you the money ?


AB: Just when I asked him for the money, he refused me and said, “Do I look like that I’m going to run from you ?


I told him it’s the company’s policies that I have to follow. He asked me to take him to the nearest ATM machine. Just when I was about to exit the parking lot he started abusing me.


CT: Did the customer physically hurt you in any way ?


AB: Not until then,but he became more abusive after a while and started making statements like, “you people don’t respect us and take away our jobs”.


I told him I can’t go beyond company’s policies and I refused him for the ride and told him to go out of the car as he was not eager to pay the money and his behaviour was not tolerable at this point.


CT’: Did you inform your company officials regarding the situation?


AB: When he didn’t wanted to move out of the cab, I told my dispatcher on the communication mic to call the police and that’s when he pulled the mic from the radio device.


CT: Could you contact your dispatcher at this point of time?


AB: My radio device was blown off by him and I lost contact with the dispatcher. To avoid any further conflict, I moved out of the car and called my dispatcher from my cell phone and asked them to call the cops.


After a couple of seconds , he started throwing punches on my face.


CT: Were you defensive at that time ?


AB: I tried to push him to defend myself but he continued to punch me and pushed me on the ground as if he was taking some kind of revenge.

He again beat me up and in the heat of this situation I tried to push him away and tried to get inside the convenience.


He tried to damage the car again and even my religion symbol ,which was hanging by the mirror inside the car.


CT: Did the police reach at the incident location ?


AB: The police officials came minutes later and took him in their custody.Even the cops, saw the damage caused to my car and my religious symbol which was thrown away.


CT: Was any cash amount stolen from your cab ?


AB: He didn’t took any money but the way he reacted in all the situation he was depicting hatred towards me and my community as was evident from his abusive language.


Brar mentions that he it was the first time he met that person. Also, it was the first time that this kind of incident ever happened to him since the time he was into cab business.

“As a customer service, we even make that the customer enters his / her own home before we leave the spot” Brar said.


Akashdeep also stated,” If something happens to during the customer until we drop him / her at the requested place , the cab driver is responsible for that. But Who is responsible for us?


“Unfortunately, the incident happened to me but no one else should face such act of violence and hatred” Akashdeep said.


Despite all the chaos, he is thankful for everyone who helped him to get through the situation he encountered.


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