Two weeks ago a driver for the San Francisco (SF) Muni bus was assaulted by a teenager after repeatedly asking a group of three teenagers to put on their masks properly. According to Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250, the three teenagers used racial slurs toward the Asian-American bus driver until one of them pulled out a miniature baseball bat and struck the driver twice and then spat on him.
When the teens boarded the bus, the driver repeatedly reminded them to put on their masks, but as soon as he started the bus they would pull the mask down to their chin. Since they were not complying with the health guidelines, he had to tell passengers that he was going to take the bus out of service. The driver was then forced outside where the attack by the 17-year-old took place. The teen took out a bat and hit the driver twice, leading the driver to take the bat out of his hands, the teen then proceeded to stroke him in the face and then spit on him.
This left the driver with a fractured finger as well as bruises and pain where he was attacked. The bus driver stated, “It’s hard right now being a bus driver, especially being an Asian driver.” The driver faces verbal abuse every day when asking people to follow a health guideline set for their safety and the safety of others. According to the SF driver, “It adds a tremendous amount of stress to what you’re doing on a daily basis.”
The San Francisco Police don’t see this incident to be racially motivated but rather are investigating it as, “an aggravated assault along with the health order violation,” according to Officer Robert Rueca. The Union president Marenco is pleading for, “passengers and the general public to assist the operators whenever he or she is trying to do their job.”
The bus driver has mentioned that he would like to have a security guard, police officer, or someone else on the bus who is responsible for enforcing passengers to wear masks, while drivers can focus on driving.