Passenger Drives Cab Driver Crazy

by kimfsp on September 11, 2015 - 1:46pm

In Nancy Hixt article "RCMP reopen investigation into racist abuse of Calgary cabbie" published on July 21st, 2015, addresses the story of Sardar Qayyum a 35 year-old cab driver who was verbally attacked by one of his passengers. On the early morning of November 17th, 2013, the passenger riding in Qayyum's cab asked to pass by a McDonald's. The author explains that the passenger rudely insulted the cab driver and also his family and culture. Despite being verbally abused by his passenger, Quayyum still agreed to his request. Hopeless, he endured the discriminating threats quietly. The traveler, who was already angry took it a step further by punching the camera to Qayyum chest and got off the car. Hixt adds on that the passenger had to compensate for the physical damages he caused but was not charged for the verbal abuse. The author states that it is only two years after this event occurred that the RCMP decided to reopen the case. Ever since that incident, Quayyum, father of four have had a hard time coping with his daily routine.

Reading this article, I felt like there was a great injustice applied to the cab driver. I think the case was pretty obvious that the passenger verbally abused the cab driver and that it was extremely unfair that he was not charged for verbal brutality. I felt the RCMP was extremely negligent towards Quayyum's case and that perhaps this was due to racism. I believe that it is intolerable to see people diminishing others just because of their culture. The passenger who associated a bomb to Arabs was extremely out of place. I feel that he went too far when he mentioned the cab drivers family who had no right to be insulted. As Curnoe mentions in his article "Biological Reality or Cultural Delusion?", racial categories were created based on culture and language. I think that people associate a certain skin tone with a certain culture and this is where racism comes in. Quayyum was classified by his skin color which led to assume that he was Arab and therefore attacked for his culture. As Diamond mentions in his article "Race Without Color" there is so many ways to categorize people such as lactose tolerance or body hair type. He concludes that it is useless to create "racial" differences based on those arbitrary categories. It was hard to see how someone who works hard all night long and gives a good service to his clients, to be discriminated like that.

Hixt, N. (2015, July 17). The passenger rudely insulted the cab driver and also his family and culture. Global News. Retrieved from


Its sickening to hear that stuff like this still happens today, in such a "welcoming and tolerant" place as Canada. I really appreciated reading your article as I think it brought the issue to light in an informed manner. The fact that all of this was caught on tape and the only repercussion the passenger suffered was paying the damages caused to the camera is quite worrisome, and while the case is being re-opened by the RCMP, one can only assume nothing would have been done if for his story not passing in the news.
In addition to the racism the cab driver experienced, which is a huge issue, I'm starting to wonder if there is not an underlying issue of sexism in play here as well. That is to say, Mr. Qayyum was a victim of racial hate from the passenger, but is it possible he may have not been taken seriously by the RCMP because of him being a man?
Did Mr. Qayyum not get taken seriously in his search for justice because he is a relatively young man? Therefore able to protect himself on his own?
While we don't have all the answers it is necessary to understand that some issues are more complex than they appear, and if we gouge away at them, we will see all the injustices that need to be addressed for the problem to be truly fixed.
Above is an interesting link demonstrating perpetrator sympathy, one of the reasons the racist cab passenger wasn't charged, I think you should have mentioned this in your article, that the RCMP officer told Mr. Qayyum that his assailant was an upstanding citizen therefore his case stood little chance.
There is still so much left to be done.

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