A couple months ago, I was on a 7 hour bus ride when I was seated by a woman from hell. When I boarded the bus, I was told that it wasn’t fully booked so I assumed it would be alright if I left my backpack and personal items on the seat beside me so no one would sit with me. I normally wouldn’t do this, but I am someone who gets extremely motion sick (no amount of meds or other remedies seems to help) and since this bus ride was going through the mountains I thought I’d save someone the trouble of sitting next to a puking, feverish girl.
Anyways, I rode like this for about an hour and half the bus was empty so I thought it didn’t matter. Then, out of nowhere, a woman across from me starts looking back and me, sending me death glares over and over. At this point, we are slowly moving into the foothills of the mountains so I ignore her, trying to focus on relaxing and not letting the nausea overwhelm me.
After about 20 minutes she comes over and says “Excuse me I’m going to sit here”, pointing at the seat next to me. I give her a look of frustration but being the non-confrontational person I am, I moved my stuff off the seat and allowed her to sit there despite 30 empty seats around us. Intentionally, I scatter my stuff on the floor just enough so her feet don’t have quite as much room as they should, hoping this would persuade her to leave.
Nope. She begins kicking my things, hard. I ask her, very politely, not to kick my things. She looks at me with moral outrage. “Little girl, you don’t own this f***ing bus. Give me my fucking space, I am 60 years old. You little Indian b****es seem to think you own this f***ing country.” So, the realization sets in that this woman is a racist bitch who intentionally sat with me to bitch me out.
I am really a Canadian citizen, born and raised here, however I am brown because my mother is a Filipina. Anyways, I tell her there is no need to be so hostile and as she begins to snort rude remarks back to me, I put on my headphones and blast the loudest Radiohead songs I can find, just to bug her. At this point, the anger boiling up inside of me and the nausea are beginning to get to me so I decide it is best to ignore her.
But she won’t let that happen. She begins elbowing me, hard. Then, kicking my leg. I finally give in and take of my headphones. She demands that I turn down my music. I demand that she leaves me alone. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye I see her opening her water bottle and pouring it all over my backpack and personal belongings. I push it out of her hands at which point she begins SCREAMING obscenities at me, telling me I am abusing a poor elderly woman with back problems, that I’m taking up too much space, that I am part of the “Indian problem” that is destroying our respectable nation.
At this point, the anxiety and the mountainous bus ride is just too much to bear. As she screams at me, I realize I need to throw up and although I could interrupt her to quickly run to the bathroom, I instead decide it was okay if I just let it go in her lap. I am terribly sick so I end up vomiting almost an entire sandwich onto her. She stops for a moment out of shock, and then begins to hit me as hard as she fucking can. I am a tiny little half Asian girl who weighs less than 95 lbs, and she’s huge. People around who have been hearing her bullshit finally, at this point, call for the bus driver who pulls the bus over in the town we are passing through.
The woman demands I be removed from the bus for elderly abuse. The other passengers back me up and defend me after witnessing the insanity. The police are called and the woman is escorted off the bus, literally kicking and screaming about how Indians should be banned from public transit. Last I see of her, she is being held by police on the side of the road, covered in vomit.. As much as I believe you shouldn’t vomit on people on purpose, I must admit that my motion sickness has never felt so good before.. Also, I ended up getting a coupon for a free ticket with the bus company as an apology for what happened, which was only an added bonus.
So many people are asking me: “Why didn’t you just get up and move to a different seat?”. My answer is, I probably should have. But, I am easily intimidated and I was just hoping that she’d leave me alone. Once she started acting nasty, then it became an issue of pride. I didn’t want her to get her way, so in my passive-aggressive sort of way, I was fighting back by not switching seats. Also, I was feeling so ill I probably would have vomited anyway had I attempted to gather my things and move. I can’t say it was the right thing to do, or worth it, but that’s how it happened. I have social anxiety so I get very nervous and don’t think clearly in such situations.
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