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'She needed help, so I jumped in’: Langley woman describes anti-masker encounter in grocery store

Last Updated Jan 18, 2021 at 10:16 am PDT

(CITYNEWS/Tony Fera)

Langley woman steps in to help when maskless man seems to be harassing another woman in grocery lineup

Stepping in to protect other women is important, says Good Samaritan

Woman receives support and praise for defending another woman against COVID-19 denier in Langley

LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) — A Langley woman says she feels both vindicated about her actions and anxious to return to a local grocery store after a tense encounter with a man who was not wearing a mask.

NEWS 1130 has agreed to use only her first name, Stephanie, after she stepped in to help another woman she felt was being harassed, last Wednesday.

While standing in line at a checkout, she overheard a man calling a woman “stupid” for getting her vaccine, suggesting she didn’t know what she was putting in her body.

“She was doing that thing where women look around, looking for support,” says Stephanie.

“I’ve been there and I have not been backed-up before, so I was immediately like, ‘Oh, I see that look in her eye.’ She needed help so I jumped in,” she adds.

She’s shared the video online and is receiving mostly praise for her actions. It shows a maskless man in a busy store, being served at a cash register while spouting COVID-denying rhetoric.

After she describes her intentions as filming to ensure others feel safe in his presence, the man is heard calling Stephanie a “Bolshevik”, a “Nazi”, and a “Browncoat” before suggesting she is mentally ill.

“He just, like, kept going at me, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is fine, like if he’s focused on me, she can get her groceries into her bag, and then we can both leave like we’re both leaving together. I’m not leaving without her,’” she recalls.

Stephanie says she was terrified while filming and struggled with anxiety for days after, which impacted her sleep.

She suspected she was going to see a lot of trolling and angry anti-maskers in her comments section after the video was posted but was pleasantly surprised to find mostly warm messages of gratitude.

“It was like, ‘You sound amazing. You stood up for women supporting women, like you stood up for another woman, this is exactly the way we should be doing it,’” she says of the feedback.

“I kind of felt vindicated because at the time, I felt like I was doing the right thing but when I got home, I was in an anxiety spiral, like, what did I just do?”

She says she worries the man will recognize her in the same store if they are there at the same time because of her distinctive physical features.

“I have to go grocery shopping today, and I am still on edge,” says Stephanie.

Canada not immune to COVID-misinformation

She says the anxiety is slowly fading but anti-mask, COVID-denying misinformation, and division around such topics is growing in Canada despite many not seeing it.

“A lot of American people on my comments were like, ‘How is this Canada? I thought you guys were all super polite?’ Or ‘Oh no, another Trumper got into Canada,’” she explains.

“Some of them were like, ‘Oh, I guess he’s just visiting from America,’ and I was like, ‘No, this is pretty normal when it comes to Canada. It’s just we like to ignore it. We like to pretend it’s not there,’ and I think it’s time, as a society, we stop.”

She also got advice from other women that she says she plans to use in the future, such as speaking directly to the person who is threatened and not the aggressor. She says that would involve asking them if they feel safe and suggesting you can leave the scene with them, such as walking to the parking lot together.

Stephanie says she has called the Langley RCMP to open a case file. NEWS 1130 has reached out to the RCMP to confirm more details.

We have also reached out to the grocery store in question for a statement.