Earlier this month, a PhD student at King’s College named Kaitlyn Regehr was on a bus in London when someone groped her. “I didn’t say anything, I just felt uncomfortable and moved out the way,” Kaitlyn told BuzzFeed about the encounter. “I know that sounds ridiculous, [but] I did what most women would do, just move away, and hope that he doesn’t get off the bus and follow you.”
But though Kaitlyn stayed silent, another man decided to stand up for her right then and there. “He told the guy who touched me ‘what are you doing?’” she told BuzzFeed. “The guy intervened and it got a little bit heated, but he was clearly saying it loud enough for the bus to hear. He also said ‘Do you have any women in your life? Do you have a mother, a sister?’, and I was really touched by that, he kind of humanised the situation.”
She posted a viral plea to her friends and followers asking them to help her find the man who spoke up so she can thank him and buy him a beer. “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,” Kaitlyn continued. “You didn’t turn away. You took a stand. You said something.”
The post was shared over 89,000 times. . . and now, she’s found the man she’s been looking for, thanks to social media. Earlier this week, Kaitlyn posted a picture of herself next to Firat Ozcelik, who came to her defense that fateful night on the 207 bus. “Last night, I got to meet and thank this Good Samaritan and all round awesome dude — Firat,” Kaitlyn wrote in the caption.
Not only did Kaitlyn thank Firat, but everyone who helped her in the past month. “I am grateful to all who helped make this meeting happen; as well as to the metropolitan police, who have been really supportive; most of all, I am grateful the many who shared their own stories,” she wrote. “In this way, the post went far beyond one person speaking out for another in the microcosm of a 207 bus towards Acton. It became an international and intersectional discussion. For that, Firat and I agreed, we are both very thankful.”
But this isn’t over, Kaitlyn continued. She called her followers and friends to learn from the experience. “Here’s to following Firat’s lead,” she concluded. “Here’s to taking stands and saying something — on 207 buses and beyond.”
We’re so glad this story has a happy ending. You go, Kaitlyn and Firat, for standing up for what’s right.
(Image via Facebook.)