May 2023 \ Diaspora News \ Diaspora News

Melbourne: An 11-year-old boy’s heartwarming words to an Indian-origin bus driver, who was asked to “go back to his country”, is winning hearts in Australia. Brock Keena was sitting on the front seat of a bus driven by Sanjay Patel when he witnessed the racial incident on a trip from Swansea to Newcastle, 9 News website reported.

According to Patel, a woman with a child boarded the bus and started screaming about how she thought somebody was smoking on the bus. “She got to her stop, got off and as she got off she said... ‘Why don’t you go back to where you came from, Africa?’,” Patel said, quoting the woman.

After a couple of stops, Keena walked up to Patel and said: “You shouldn’t be treated like that, I hope you’re OK.”

“Nobody’s said that to me before when I’ve been racially abused in Australia,” Patel, who came to Australia as a refugee when he was around Keena’s age, and spent most of his life in Western Sydney, told 9News.

“I just went up and asked him how he was feeling, because I felt bad about the way he was being treated. He didn’t deserve anything like that,” Keena said, adding that his interaction with Patel has sparked a special friendship. Keena’s act was also lauded by New South Wales Premier Chris Minns, who tweeted: “A bus driver from Newcastle was racially abused and shaken, until 11-yr-old Brock stepped in. This sort of behaviour is never ok, but I’m so glad Brock was there.

“Showing everyone how far a little kindness can go in turning someone’s day around.”

“It’s just really beautiful to hear that he would take that initiative and be that person to stand up and check in with Sanjay (Patel),” Keena’s mother Melissa told 9News. The CCTV footage of the incident, showing Brock speaking to Patel and offering a handshake, was shared by Transport for New South Wales.

“It shouldn’t happen once, no one should be racially vilified for simply just trying to do their job, so we’ll take action where we can,” Acting COO of Transport for New South Wales, Mark Hutchings, said.

Tags: Australia