NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn woman says she was punched in the mouth on the subway when she complained about a fellow straphanger “manspreading.”
Manspreading is when someone uses their body or belongings to take up more than one seat.
Sam Saia said she was attacked during her Thursday morning commute on the N train.
“I sat down and I existed, and I think this guy had a problem with that. He just started manspreading me extra and pushing me into the wall,” she said. “I just looked at him and said ‘Alright, just calm down, just relax.'”
Saia said that friendly advice proved to be a big mistake.
“He just started looking at me and said ‘B***h, don’t ignore me’ and he started elbowing me so I looked at him and [he punched me], and I banged my head into the wall. After that I just felt blood,” she said.
Cellphone video shows a Good Samaritan coming to Saia’s rescue.
“Get off the train bro, you just f***ing hit a lady,” he said.
CBS2’s Jessica Borg spoke with that Good Samaritan – 29-year-old Bensonhurst resident Victor Conde – on Friday night.
“The slogan is, ‘see something, say something.’ Who are you going to say it to at that moment? I had to do something,” he said.
Video shows Conde getting a firm grip on the man’s hands, subduing him and forcing him of the train at the New Utrecht stop – potentially saving Saia from even worse harm.
Police applauded the way he handled the confrontation.
Conde said his instinct to help just kicked in.
“People are throwing out the words savior or hero, I was trying to do the right thing,” he said.
Saia said the shock eventually wore off and reality set in.
“I didn’t realize he hit me at first. It registered after I saw the blood,” she said.
She said she’s grateful for the man who stepped in on her behalf.
“Thank you. Just keep being you,” she said. “We need more amazing, good-hearted men out there.”
On Friday, a similar incident happened on the 6 train near the Hunts Point station in the Bronx.
Commuters kicked a man they saw punching and shoving a young mother into the subway bench in front of her three kids. Riders held the man down until police arrived.
While the people who came to the mom’s rescue might have taken things too far, Abbas Omar, of the East Village, said he’s pleased to see men intervening to help a woman under attack.
“The bystander effect – everyone assumes someone else is going to do something, that leads to no one doing anything,” he said.
Rapper Drake did something that drove the crowd wild at his show in Sydney, Australia. He stopped mid-performance to scold a man he saw groping women in the audience.
“If you don’t stop touching girls, I’m going to come out there and f*** you up,” he said.
Anti-violence and anti-sexual harassment advocates say one way of tackling the issue is simply to call it out and not stay silent.
“Stand up for the ladies. That’s it,” Conde said.
Saia has a warning for other subway attackers: In a time when everything is recorded, bad behavior will not go unnoticed.
“It’s going to come back to you… the power of social media,” she said.
She wants the MTA to hand over surveillance video of the attacker so people will see who he is, and maybe he’ll be shamed into keeping his legs out of the aisle, and his hands to himself.