Kaitlyn Regehr's account of being sexually harassed on public transport could have ended much the same way as many women's – the culprit going unchallenged as the person assaulted tries to leave the situation as quickly as possible, resigning themselves to the usual frustration, anger and upset such an experience leaves in its wake.
But thankfully, as her viral Facebook post attests, someone stepped in when Regehr was subjected to unwanted attention on a London bus earlier this month. Now, thanks to the wonder of the internet, Regehr has managed to track down the “tall, dark and dapper” defender who turned what could have been yet another depressing anecdote wearily recounted in the pub into something “surprising and powerful”.
In a new status, the student revealed she'd finally been able to thank Firat Ozcelik in person, describing him as a “Good Samaritan and all round awesome dude” for standing up to the man who assaulted her on the 207 bus to Acton.
30-year-old Regehr, who is from Toronto and studying at King's College London, had previously described how a fellow passenger confronted the man who'd grabbed her by “asking him about the women in his life, his mother, his sister [...] in doing so you made me a person.
“I thank you not just because you stood up for me, or because you made me feel safe, but because on your transit home - in this big, potentially anonymous city - you humanised assault. You didn't turn away. You took a stand. You said something.”
As she was getting off the bus, she wasn't able to thank him properly at the time. In the new post, she shared a picture with Ozcelik, writing: “Last night, I got to meet and thank this Good Samaritan and all round awesome dude - Firat!
“The experience surrounding last weeks' post has been a surprising and powerful one. I am grateful to all who helped make this meeting happen [...] In this way, the post went far beyond one person speaking out for another in the microcosm of a 207 bus towards Acton [...] Here's to following Firat's lead. Here's to taking stands and saying something - on 207 buses and beyond.”
Regehr's original post, in which she urged people to help her find Ozcelik so she could buy him a pint, has been liked more than 160,000 times and shared 86,000 times. We're betting he'll be bought a fair few pints now...