Meet Dante Jamie Coyne, a 25-year-old tech support engineer from Woking.
Earlier this week, Dante was on the train to Basingstoke when he saw a section of the carriage completely empty. Well, except for a woman wearing a niqab.
He told BuzzFeed News that people looked hostile and were avoiding her. So he decided to make a stand. He stood up and loudly said, "I'll sit here." As the woman left the carriage, she whispered, "thank you".
Still on the train, he posted a status on Facebook for his friends and recounted his story, telling people "[not to be] so judgemental".
Although his account now appears to be deleted, his full post read:
"Now everyone who knows me can fully support I joke about pretty much anything and everything, I do not offend intentionally and I would never make someone uncomfortable on purpose.
I jump on a busy train this morning and everyone made it beyond obvious they would not sit in this section of 6 seats, I loudly announced "ill sit here then" and took my seat.
We said nothing the entire journey but as she got off train she nodded at me and heard a very quiet "thank you".guys dont be so judgemental #DontJudgeByTheBooksCover"
His post has been liked over 40,000 times. Dante said he was surprised – and saddened – by the reaction to what he considers a fairly small act.
"I am still in shock that what I deem normal has been praised so highly," he said. "Part of me is actually saddened by the many experiences people have shared with me as to why they are so grateful for my actions."
A number of people, especially Muslim women, have posted on his wall to express their gratitude for standing up for the women wearing the niqab.
Danielle Allen wrote on Dante's page: "Couldn't help but cry... I know the feeling all too well! So again thank you!"
Dante said he just did what he thought was the right thing to do. "She is a human being whom was being treated unfairly, I gave her the respect she deserved," he said.
Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Siraj Datoo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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