A Saskatoon taxi driver is speaking out about the racial abuse he says is becoming an all-too-common part of his job.
Mohammad Ahkgar, 65, released footage of an incident between himself and a passenger captured by the on-board camera in his cab in mid-March.
In the video, the passenger shows apparent signs of being intoxicated – slurring his words and seeming to have difficulty maintaining a coherent train of thought.
The man begins a conversation, saying he appreciated the fact that Ahkghar, an Iranian immigrant, was paying taxes.
Then, the tone of the conversation shifts, as the man demands to know if Ahkghar is in Canada legally and begins cursing and demanding to see Ahkghar’s “documentation,” despite the fact that, according to Ahkgar, his cabbie’s licence was fully visible on the dash.
Ahkgar said he’s experienced this type of incident before, but said he had never had one that was quite as scary.
“I really was very scared, because I was very alone,” he said, noting he has been in Canada for 21 years and became a citizen in 2002.
Ahkgar’s daughter, Maryam, said she hopes her father’s story and video help change people’s attitudes towards cab drivers.
“Every single cab driver’s family is really scared for their life sometimes. My dad’s been held at knifepoint as a type of gang initiation, or just, all sorts of racist stuff,” she said,
Ahkgar has brought the matter to the attention of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. He said Saskatoon police have also contacted him about the incident.
– With files from 650 CKOM’s JT Marshall.