A Vancouver man who stepped up to save a Muslim teen from assault last week is being hailed a hero. Now Canadians everywhere are thanking the 21-year-old using the hashtag #ThankYouJake.
Noor Fadel, 18, was riding the SkyTrain home to Richmond, B.C. around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 when a man began spewing racist remarks at her on the train, according to Global News, and allegedly said he would "kill all Muslims."
No one intervened, not even when the man allegedly hit Fadel, attempted to remove her hijab, and according to Transit Police, tried to force her head toward his crotch
That's when Jake Taylor stepped in.
"Before I could even get there, he smacked her right in the head, right across the face or whatever," Taylor told CTV News. "I went over and gave him a shove and told him to 'get the 'F' out of here."
The attacker, later identified as 46-year-old Pierre Belzan, got off at the next stop. He has now been charged with assault, and police have recommended a charge of sexual assault as well.
To thank Taylor for being the only passenger to defend Fadel, journalist Muhammad Lila started the hashtag #ThankYouJake to not only "show him some love," but to prove that "not all heroes have superpowers or wear capes."
On social media, the response has been overwhelming.
Since the hashtag went viral, it's inspired Lila to take things one step further to thank Taylor. He launched a GoFundMe page to crowdfund a trip to Vancouver so that he can give Taylor "the best surprise he's ever had."
"No good deed should go unrewarded," Lila wrote on the crowdfunding site. "I'm going to capture the [surprise] on video, showing him that thousands of people around the country — and the world — are grateful and are saying thanks."
In just one day, the campaign raised over $1,000 of its $5,000 goal. However, considering nothing viral is a secret, Taylor found out about the campaign and recently shared his surprise and gratitude on the GoFundMe page.
"Thank you so very much for thinking I deserve this," the 21-year-old wrote. "But I think it should just be expected as the decency of a human being. Do the right thing."
Taylor also revealed that he will be donating the money from the campaign to his rugby club.
Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan told CTV News that other passengers may have chosen not to step in out of fear — but Taylor was brave enough to do so.
"If he had not done that, this incident could have been much more serious than it already was," Drennan said.
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