Hispanic man says Auckland bus driver called him n-word in road-rage incident

An Auckland man says he felt “subhuman” after a vitriolic road rage incident in which a bus driver allegedly called him a “f***ing n****r”.

The man, who is of Hispanic descent but has lived in New Zealand since he was a child, has been left shocked by the unexpected attack, which happened in Hobsonville Point on Wednesday evening.

“My partner and I were just driving to the shops when a bus cut through a give way and cut us off,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous.

He threw his hands up in the air in a “what the hell” gesture, as the bus driver refused to move and let the man through.

“He just started absolutely going crazy and abusing us from the bus, to the point where my partner was crying.”

The man said he did swear at the driver in response to the abuse, but didn’t feel his reaction was over the top, “because he was just so crazy from out of nowhere”.

The man did a U-turn so he could see the bus’ number plate, at which point he said the driver leaned out the window and yelled “you f***ing n****r” before driving away.

The man said he had experienced racial discrimination in other countries, but this was the first incident he’d suffered in New Zealand.

“It just kind of made me feel subhuman. I just couldn’t believe it, I don’t even know how to describe it. I just felt like not a person.”

The man called Auckland Transport to report the incident, but said it took several calls to even be given a case number for the incident. He is still waiting to hear whether they have made contact yet with the driver.

He said he also reported the incident to police.

“The evil side of me wants him to get fired, but I don’t really want that. I don’t really know [what I want], I just know that that wasn’t okay.”

He was particularly disappointed in what he perceived as Auckland Transport “sitting on their laurels”.

“At the very least” he wanted an apology.

As a 30-year-old man, he was concerned someone more vulnerable could be subjected to the same abuse.

“Imagine if it was an elderly woman who couldn’t defend herself? That makes me feel sick.”

The man’s partner is now “absolutely terrified” of seeing the bus driver in the suburb again while out and about.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said they and their bus operators took allegations of racial abuse seriously.

“The type of behaviour described in the allegation is unacceptable and will be fully investigated.”

He confirmed they received the complaint on the evening of Wednesday last week, and that the complaint had been referred to the bus operator for feedback.

“On Thursday 7 January the customer was advised: We’ve started working on your case. We’re looking into it carefully. Please note, that due to the holiday period, it may take us a little longer to get back to you. But be assured we have received your case.”

After the Herald sought comment from Auckland Transport, the man said he received an apology for the delay and was informed the case had been escalated to “critical”.

A police spokeswoman confirmed they received a report on Thursday relating to an incident in Hobsonville Point.

“Police are assessing the information and will determine what further action is required,” she said.

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