In New York City, riding the subway is a fact of life for most commuters. Sometimes, however, that means sharing a train with some questionable characters. For instance, Sam Saia was on her way to work when the man next to her began “manspreading,” that much-loathed practice of opening his legs to take up more than his fair share of space.
Since he was pushing her into the wall, Saia asked the man to stop. He responded by punching her in the face.
Saia reported in a Facebook post that before he hit her, the man shouted obscenities at her:
B****, you ain’t nothing! I’ve raped white b****es like you, f***ing c***!
After the man attacked her, several bystanders jumped in and confronted him.
One video shows another passenger holding the assailant’s arms down and demanding he get off at the next stop:
The man who intervened said:
Get off the train bro, you just f***ing hit a lady…She’s bleeding, you piece of s***; You hit her in the mouth!
After the incident, Saia attempted to file a report at the New York Police Department’s 17th precinct, but, once there, she was passed off to the Transit District 34 headquarters. The headquarters then told her that filing a report with them would be a waste of time since she could do so at any precinct (confusing), so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Saia commented to the Daily News:
I said to myself, ‘OK, I’ll just blow it up on social media. I’m here doing what the police are supposed to do. I just want awareness and I want us to be safe.
Again where are the police ? Are people blind ? One man helped this woman on a train full of people, a complete joke, then she goes to the police station & she is given a hard time, wonder why this city is in this shape, a disgrace!!
— MattRome (@Fordham7512) November 18, 2017
People shared Saia’s Facebook post over 1,200 times before it was removed, presumably due to the internal inquiry initiated by the New York Police Department. Her words online have brought widespread awareness to the issue — and connected her with the bystander who took the video.
On Friday, Saia posted on Facebook:
The internet can be a beautiful thing!