Mohammad Ahkgar, a 65-year-old cab driver for United Cab in Saskatoon, said a recent verbal attack on him was shocking, but it’s not the first time it has happened to him.
Ahkgar, who is originally from Iran, recently endured some nasty questions and comments that focused on his race.
Global News has obtained the unsettling video of the passenger launching the verbal attack on Ahkgar.
WARNING: Some people may find the language in the below video offensive. Video of the verbal abuse a Saskatoon cab driver received from a passenger over his race.
“I had this happen many times, but not the same,” Ahkgar said.
“This guy, he ask me, are you citizen? Are you paying tax? Something like that.
“I was scared because I was alone. Nobody around me at that time to help me, really I was under stress.”
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It began in the early morning of March 12 when Akhgar picked up a man from the Canadian Brewhouse.
It started out friendly enough, but quickly, turned sour.
The man started asking for Akhgar’s identification, even though the taxi licence is displayed on the dash.
He then began questioning Akhgar’s legal status in Canada.
The passenger then called police.
Akhgar sat quietly to the side as the man refused to leave the cab.
Global News has spoken to the passenger in question and showed him the footage but he has given no comment.
The incident has infuriated Akhgar’s family, particularly his two daughters, Morv and Maryam Akhgar.
“It was disturbing. I couldn’t finish the video,” Morv said.
“It was just sad, especially when it’s your own family member. My dad’s 65 years old, he’s so innocent.
“It was definitely really hard to watch.”
Mohammad was an accountant in Iran and moved to Saskatoon 21 years ago.
He became a Canadian citizen in 2002.
His family says he encounters incidents such as this at least once a month.
“My father cannot help the fact that he was an older immigrant coming into the country and having an accent,” Maryam said.
“He can’t apologize for his skin colour or what could be associated with people’s perception of what a Muslim immigrant is like.”
The words cut deep for the Canadian citizen, who said cab drivers are an easy target because of the cash they carry and also because of the high rate of diversity among drivers.
“I got shocked, because I told him before I have been here 21 years and because I am Canadian,” Akhgar said.
“Why are you talking about that?”
Morv and Maryam plan to take their case to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.