Published Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:56PM EDT
Halifax Regional Police have charged a man with assault, after a taxi driver came to a young woman’s rescue following an alleged attack in the city’s south end.
A little after four o’clock Friday afternoon, Amer Abdo had just taken the second call of his shift. With two passengers in his back seat, he saw a commotion ahead of him.
“Two blocks ahead of me, I kind of saw what looked like two couples fighting,” Abdo, who has been driving a cab for 16 years, told CTV Atlantic. “And then when I got closer, it was this big guy that slammed a younger girl, a student, to the ground, next to a tree.”
Adrenaline pumping, he slammed on the brakes and got out of his car to confront the man.
“I said, ‘You know, what are you doing?’” Abdo recalled. “And he just looked at me aggressively and just walked away.”
Abdo helped the young woman off the sidewalk and into his cab. Police said the young woman had been walking and texting when she almost bumped into the suspect, who then punched her and knocked her to the ground.
With the young woman safely in his taxi, Abdo followed the man down the street to a gas station where they called the police.
Some say the heroics are the kind of story the city’s taxi industry needs right now. Earlier this month, there were intense protests in Halifax after a local cab driver was acquitted on a charge of sexually assaulting an intoxicated female passenger. The Crown has promised to appeal the decision after comments made by the judge in the case sparked public outcry.
Angie Herman, who co-owns the taxi company Abdo works for, says she’s proud of the driver.
“There’s so many bad news stories about drivers that have hit the media,” she told CTV Atlantic. “But the reality is that that’s just a small percentage of the drivers. We actually have really great, amazing drivers every day who are really caring.”
Police Sgt. Richard Lane said the driver’s intervention helped them catch the suspect and may have prevented the assault from becoming more serious. “Thank God the taxi driver was there,” he said.
Police have made an arrest in the case and have charged a 40-year-old man with assault.
Although the victim was shaken up, she was otherwise okay.
Abdo, who says he’s no hero, was surprised that nearby pedestrians did nothing to intervene.
“That’s what I was thinking the whole time,” he said. “He cannot get away with it.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic reporter Ron Shaw and files from The Canadian Press