Ticket reversed after parking commissionaire tells business owner 'come back when you learn English'
The city of Saint John recently reversed a ticket after a parking commissionaire told an Arab business owner to come back after learning English and ticketed her $100. The Arab business owner said that it's not the first time she saw racism, but she doesn't want the commissionaire to lose his job. The business owner, Yamama Zein Alabdin, was parked in a loading zone and was unloading supply on a typical Monday morning. She was inside her restaurant called Mashawi Zein, when her son told her that the car was being ticketed.
When she got out of her restaurant, she told the commissionaire that she was unloading supplies for her business and that she would move her car once she was done unloading supplies. Zein Alabdin's first language is Arabic, however, she is learning English and French and tried to communicate with him in both languages. Nevertheless, he continued writing the ticket.
According to CBC News, during an interview in Arabic, she said "I told him that we have a company here that's doing an inspection, 'I'm busy, just give me a second, my English is not so good,'"
"He said when you learn English come back to talk to me."
Zein Alabdin said at the end of the encounter, she was crying.
"He just spoke to me in a humiliating way," she said. "He embarrassed me."
Zein Alabdin stated that there were many people around, and a car parked in a loading zone with two women inside. She said he treated them with more respect than he treated her.
"He just waved them away. Is it just because I'm Arab? Honestly, that's what went through my mind," she said. "I immediately took it in a racist way." She also stated that the encounter was totally humiliating and inappropriate.
It sounds by all accounts here, the treatment was completely unacceptable. - Don Darling, mayor of Saint John, NB.
Mishelle Carson-Roy, the co-owner of a store across the street, said she was nearby and that she was very shocked.
"I didn't want to believe that that's what I had heard," she said.
Carson-Roy wrote a letter to send to the city, but the website was down due to a cyberattack. Therefore, she posted the letter on Twitter instead, which gathered many people and also received a reply from the mayor.