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cazzie's avatar

My son and I were bullied on the bus today for speaking English. How should we have handled it?

Asked by cazzie (24516points) September 17th, 2016

There was an man on the bus with his own son, (who wouldn’t even sit next to him and sat across the aisle on the window seat), who was speaking very loudly to get his son’s attention on a number of topics and saying what sounded like rather random things very loudly. He wasn’t Norwegian and even made reference to his own language (he said ‘Jambo, Jambo a few times, so I’m guessing his language was Swahili.) as he spoke to nearby passengers in heavily accented Norwegian. As my son and I spoke a few seats behind and on the other side, he over heard us and started commenting to fellow passengers about how we were speaking in English and just what he thought of that. He was very rude about it and very loud about it. I looked up once and glared a bit at him, but otherwise, completely ignored him. A few people had the misfortune of initially sitting next to him when they got on the bus, but, after experiencing his comments, quickly moved away. As my son and I got off the bus, one of the ladies said to him, ‘You should apologise.’ He said very, very loudly and repeatedly, ‘No apology! No apology!’ I just hurried off the bus with my son and ignored the whole thing.

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23 Answers

Seek's avatar

Sounds like the guy was doing a fine job of making an arse of himself without your help.

I mean, speaking broken Norwegian in order to make a big deal about you speaking English? Hark, kettle, thou art black!

zenvelo's avatar

You handled it about as well as it can be handled. Some people are fighting their own internal demons, and your doing your best to ignore him and disengage was best.

The only other thing to do is if he started to get very abusive or physical would be to have the bus driver intervene.

You kept your side of the street clean, it may have upset you but your conscience is clear.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

“Shut up and mind your own business.” That works in any language.

filmfann's avatar

Foreign perception of American=Trump supporter.

ucme's avatar

A swift kick in the nuts, although if he was as excitable as he sounds you may have hurt your toes on his Norwegian Wood. Also, he a twat.

Sneki95's avatar

You have handled it excellently. The best way to deal with loudmouth idiots is to simply ignore them. Reacting in any way wil only put you down on their level.
As @Seek said, he managed to make a fool out of himself on his own.

Darth_Algar's avatar

This might be my misconception, but don’t most Norwegians speak English fairly fluently anyway?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Anyone here who habitually rides any form of public transport has a packet of stories on encounters with deranged individuals. It’s a given. After all, bus passengers are just a cross section of the public at large. In places like New York, riding the bus will convince you that there is an epidimic of delusional and spectacularly unbalanced people. My guess is that the adult was entrusted to the kid’s care, and the kid was busy distancing himself from the adult to avoid embarrassment.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ I’m lucky to live in the D.C. area, where just about everyone uses mass transit. The local buses and trains are for commuting and getting around, not for transporting the mentally unstable. I’ve had very different experiences in New York.

Strauss's avatar

@Love_my_doggie not for transporting the mentally unstable.

Well, we do have access rights. Some of us actually get discount passes from the Transportation Authority!

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree with @zenvelo.

@Love_my_doggie Are you implying that the “mentally unstable” have their own transportation system in DC? That’s fascinating. Are people carded for sanity when they get on the bus?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think a lot of the mentally ill prefer riding the buses and subways, particularly in the Winter for obvious reasons.

cazzie's avatar

As a balance for the day, I guess I should add that when we were shopping and checking out, the cashiers often hear us banter in English, so they start speaking English to us, and we instantly switch over to Norwegian and apologise, and when that happened while shopping that day, the clerk got a big smile on his face and switched over to Norwegian, and complimented us both on how well we spoke Norwegian and he often never sees that, especially at my son’s age, that both languages are so perfect.

@stanleybmanly our public transport system isn’t synonymous with the very poor or crazy. This is Norway, not a third world nation with a crumbling infrastructure and scores of homeless people.

Sneki95's avatar

@cazzieIf you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” N. Mendela
that is why learning languages is cool.

jca's avatar

I think you handled it appropriately. It doesn’t pay to get into arguing or defending yourself with strangers who are acting odd. As long as they’re not in your face, which of course would warrant the intervention of the bus driver or might necessitate your telling him to back off, I think ignoring it is the best way to deal with it.

In the few instances I can recall like that from when I was little, my mother would then explain to me later about how this person acted and why we stay away from people like that.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@dappled_leaves It’s more of a flume ride. I have a season pass that I need to renew for next year.

kritiper's avatar

Ignore him and those like him. He is no doubt envious of your ability to speak English well.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@cazzie are you telling us it impossible to find a mentally disturbed man on a bus in Oslo?

cazzie's avatar

Not sure, you thinking of visiting?

stanleybmanly's avatar

It puzzles me that it didn’t occur to you that the man probably had mental problems. Over here, that’s the first thing in my head when confronted by obnoxious irrational behavior. We see it a lot. I don’t think you were actually bullied. Over here, such incidents are so common, that we’re pretty much hardened to them. In fact a crazy person acting a fool in a bus or subway in New York is at serious risk of an ass kicking from his fellow passengers.

cazzie's avatar

The man was on the bus with his son. He was well dressed and groomed. I’d say it was more of a cultural problem. Foreigners are always having to be reminded that talking loud on the bus, or on the phone on the bus, is considered very rude here. He wasn’t rambling. I’m sure he was in need of some therapy and had some issues. Bullies often do.

cazzie's avatar

@stanleybmanly you want to have all my feelings for me? I’ll choose which ones, then, if that’s ok. You don’t think I was bullied? Check yourself.

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