MINNESOTA – An American Uber driver has saved a Muslim woman who was attacked by a group of racist men, driving the young woman, who was putting on hijab, safely to her home.
The story came public after TL Noelle, who was driving for Uber in Murfreesboro, Minnesota, and got a call for a pick up at MTSU, took to Facebook to post her experience with racism.
Arriving at MTSU, she “saw 3 guys hovering threateningly over a young woman wearing a hijab.”
“I called my rider and saw the woman check her phone and answer it, and through the phone and my window I heard one of the guys yell, “Don’t answer your phone when we’re trying to talk to you, didn’t anyone teach you manners over there?”” she wrote.
At this point, the young woman decided to help the hijabi woman, get her home safely.
“I turned off the car, and got out, clutching the can of mace on my keychain tightly. I used the woman’s name to greet her. She looked up as I asked how she was, making a joke about how she seemed to be hanging out with the wrong crowd,” Noelle wrote.
“One of the guys stepped forward and started to say I should turn around – I continued to walk towards the young woman and talk to her while raising my hand with the can of mace and very deliberately turned off the safety.
“The guy stepped away from me, and I put my arm around the woman and walked with her towards the car. I helped her in and then got in and drove down the road a ways where I pulled over to ask the young woman if she needed anything, and to allow myself to stop shaking.”
Feeling the stress of the situation, the Muslim woman remained speechless during the ride.
“The young woman was speechless most of the ride home but she got there safely, and I gave her my card in case she felt unsafe calling an Uber again some evening,” Noelle wrote.
Yet, the incident was game changer for Noelle, who decided to speak up against racism.
“I’m overwhelmed that I witnessed that happening and handled it that well… but I’m done with racism in this country. I will never not speak up,” she concluded.
Noelle’s post went viral on Facebook, being liked more than 11,000 times, shared almost 4000 times and received some 1,300 comments.
Earlier this year, Maeril, a young Parisian illustrator and filmmaker, created a bystander’s guide to Islamophobic harassment in a public space, focusing on the incidents she has witnessed in Paris.
The illustration was made in both English and French versions.
Instead of interacting with the attacker, which might turn problematic in many cases, Maeril focused on ignoring him totally and focusing on the person being attacked.
The 4-step guide, made in comics, has been shared thousands of times on Tumblr.