A Caltrain rider Tuesday was caught on cellphone video berating an Asian conductor who asked him for his ticket.
Another rider who witnessed and recorded the incident told NBC Bay Area the angry rider was asked to leave the train, and that’s when he went on a racist rant. The video was posted to Facebook.
"You barely speak English; how dare you!" a man in a Harley Davidson jacket and Stanford baseball cap screams at the conductor. "I am American. Not you!"
The rider who filmed the rant said it happened in the last car of the train while the train was in motion between the Millbrae and Hillsdale stations. He said the tirade didn’t just make him feel uncomfortable, but he also felt unsafe because he was afraid the man would carry out his violent threats.
The witness, who does not want to be named, said the tirade started when the conductor asked the man for his ticket. When the passenger didn't produce a ticket, the conductor asked him to get off the train at the Millbrae station. That apparently set him off.
"There will be reckoning!" the passenger screams. "There will be a day of reckoning when the white man comes with guns. You’ve deserved it!"
Racist rants have become all too common recently on social media. Sociology professor Andreana Clay of San Francisco State University says the timing does coincide to some degree with President Donald Trump taking office, but she believes he’s merely tapping into seething anger that was already boiling before his election.
"It’s more visible; we’re just more handy with social media and with recording things than we have been in the past," Clay said, adding that the public seems to be growing numb to such incidents. "I think we’re getting used to, unfortunately, these kinds of rants and outbursts."
The rider who shot the video says he called police, but by the time officers arrived, the man in the video was lost in the crowd.
Caltrain released a statement about the incident Wednesday:
"Yesterday, a passenger onboard the 380 refused to show conductors his ticket. When asked to leave the train, he became increasingly agitated and began screaming profanities and racist statements at other riders and our crew. He was removed from the train at the Hillsdale station and fled the scene before Transit Police could arrive.
"Caltrain's policy is clear that anyone who harasses, threatens or coerces another person on board will be removed. Caltrain serves riders of all races and places of origin, and we strive to provide an environment that's safe for everyone, so anyone acting in this manner will be similarly dealt with."