A routine subway commute to work turned into an ugly scene when a woman asked a man to give her some more room to sit. The man went ahead and punched her right in the face.
The unpleasant incident occurred on Nov. 16 when Sam Saia of Brooklyn, 37, was riding the N train, heading to her workplace in Manhattan. She was seated at the end of the train, and the man who sat next to her was later identified as Derek Smith.
The 56-year-old man from Brooklyn was allegedly “manspreading,” and his action pushed Saia against the wall. Saia asked Smith for more room, but he responded by calling her vulgar names.
“I sat down and I existed, and I think this guy had a problem with that. He just started manspreading me extra and pushing me into the wall,” Saia told CBS New York. “I just looked at him and said, ‘Alright, just calm down, just relax.’” After that, Saia put her earbuds in.
But Smith didn’t pay any heed to her words, and refused to give in. He began yelling at her, told her to not ignore him, and called her derogatory terms. “He just started looking at me and said ‘[expletive], don’t ignore me’ and he started elbowing me so I looked at him and [he punched me], and I banged my head into the wall. After that I just felt blood,” she said.
A bunch of good people came to help Saia, whose lip was gushing blood. A good Samaritan, 29-year-old Bensonhurst resident Victor Conde, came forward and gripped the man’s hands firmly.
“Get off the train bro. You don’t hit a lady,” Conde said.
When Conde began confronting the assaulter, a fellow passenger, Anthony Macca, started recording. “The (good Samaritan) grabbed the other guy, I started recording,” Macca told Daily News.
Later, Saia shared the video captured by Macca on Facebook. She wrote, “I wanted to raise awareness for fellow Brooklyn gals about some lowlife who punched me in the face on the N train this morning, but didn’t get to see his face as it was covered by a scarf and hood. Someone got it on video, and caught when he’d pulled the scarf down. This is the ‘man’ who hit me on the N train this morning.”
Things would have gotten worse if Conde didn’t step in and come to her rescue. And Saia is all grateful for his help. “Thank you. Just keep being you,” she told CBS New York. “We need more amazing, good-hearted men out there.”
Speaking of his heroic action, Conde said, “People are throwing out the words savior or hero, I was trying to do the right thing.”
CBS New York reported the police later arrested Smith and charged him with assault.