A car crash would not typically be ranked as a reason to rejoice. At best, we are momentarily inconvenienced, at worst, we are left with lifelong consequences.
In November 2015, Georgia resident Zanub Rizvi felt the traumatic jolt of another vehicle smashing into hers. As police officers surrounded the collision scene, Rizvi couldn’t help but notice the way the officers treated her family.
Rizvi was with her daughter and her mother-in-law. They were headed to a religious event.
“I was in a Pakistani suit, and my mother-in-law was in full Islamic headscarf,” Rizvi wrote on social media. “It’s obvious we are a Muslim family.”
“All the cops and paramedics who responded were white males,” Rizvi continued. Given the tensions surrounding Muslim Americans throughout the nation, Rizvi felt compelled to share how emergency personnel treated her family in the precarious moments following the collision.
“First cop to arrive asks if we are ok,” Rizvi recalled. “I tell him my mother-in-law has neck pain.”
“I open the car door and he sees my mother-in-law in hijab,” Rizvi said. The officer addressed the injured woman, turning to Rizvi for clarification.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful, Ma’am is it OK if I check your neck?” Rizvi said the officer explained. “(Turning to me) I don’t want to be disrespectful.”
Rizvi noticed how concerned the officer was that he might offend her family. She translated the words for her mother-in-law, who allowed the officer to assess her neck.
Several minutes later, a group of paramedics arrived. Rizvi said they were “equally as gentle” in their words and demeanor.
A car crash rarely has a silver lining. But Rizvi saw her story as an opportunity to unite American hearts together.
“I was pleasantly surprised with the cultural sensitivity and courtesy shown by everyone,” she explained.
“Just thought that with all the hate being spread in the news, I’d share something nice.”
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