New Zealand conductor JJ Phillips wins online praise after she makes racist, abusive teenager deboard train

  • A Wellington conductor named JJ Phillips has won praise online and by the mayor of her town when she asked an abusive and racist 16 year old to get off the train

  • An Upper Hutt-bound train had left Wellington station when a passenger started hurling abuses and racist remarks at a man she heard talking over the phone in Hindi

  • She asked him to 'go back to his country' and to 'not speak that language here'

A conductor from Wellington, New Zealand named JJ Phillips has won praise online and by the mayor of her town when she asked an abusive and racist 16 year old to get off the train.

The train had left Wellington station when a passenger started hurling abuses and racist remarks at a man she heard talking over the phone in Hindi. The teen then asked him to 'go back to his country' and to 'not speak that language here'.

 New Zealand conductor JJ Phillips wins online praise after she makes racist, abusive teenager deboard train

Representational Image. Wikimedia commons.

When the driver heard the conversation, she asked the passenger to de-board the train, an action, which wasn't just appreciated by the passengers on board, but also Mayor of Wellington City Justin Lester.

Speaking to the channel Checkpoint, a passenger, who wished to remain anonymous revealed that the incident unfolded on the evening of 8 August. "She kept saying 'go back to your country, don’t speak that language here'," another passenger addedShe said the victim of the racial abuse was very startled at first but seemed more or less unfazed.

According to the report, Phillips was just boarding the train when another passenger told her about the remarks. She immediately made it a point to go to the coach where the incident took place and gather as much information about it.

“The Indian passenger was just minding his own business, talking to his friend in their own language,” the passenger told Phillips, “It appeared this teenage girl had an issue with him talking in his own language and she was being racist and abusive towards him.”

When the girl’s rants and attacks continued despite warnings, and her mannerism didn’t change, the conductor asked her to get off the train. When she didn’t agree to get off, Phillips gave her one last warning and said that the train won’t move until she got off. To which, her response was to shrug, and say ‘fine’. Phillips then called the police.

Several passengers reported that she was extremely aggressive, kept hurling abuses, racist remarks, and swearing. The standstill went on for 20 minutes at Ngauranga station, where the train was stopped, but it seemed like none of the passengers minded.

After the police arrived, the teen was asked to apologise, which she did and she was subsequently referred to Youth Aid — a police-school partnership in New Zealand.

Phillips said that after the 15 March Christchurch shootings that took place, she said she had no problems stopping the train. After the incident, returned to the train and apologised to passengers for the delay then made a speech to which the whole carriage applauded.

The mayor said in a Facebook post, "Thank you to all those involved for standing up for another and calling out racism. A huge thank you to the Metlink staff member for your leadership and being a wonderful example to others." He also asked who the said individual was so he could nominate them for a Civic Safety Award.

Colleagues and commuters praised her actions. The Human Rights Commission has published her speech online with a message for people to "be like Phillips." When asked about the same, Phillips said that she simply saw her action as doing her job.

Updated Date: Aug 13, 2019 13:04:29 IST