Decency 101: Indian-origin woman gives us a demo on how not to treat cab drivers
We Indians are often accused of being an inconsiderate bunch. Entitled. Of being rude to our maids, drivers, autowallahs and all service staff in general. For cutting lines, ogling air-hostesses and expecting people to pick up after us.
These habits become even more apparent when Indians outside the country abuse the boundaries of privilege. The average Indian is perceived to be loud, aggressive and lacking in civic sense. Just Google "why are Indians rude" and you'll know what I mean.
Unfortunately, each time one wants to defend one's country and community against these generalisations, something more cringeworthy than one can imagine shows up.
Such as one particular video that was uploaded to YouTube last Tuesday that shows what seems to be an insane woman in Miami assaulting an Uber driver and destroying his personal property including iPhone, documents, and more.
Within hours, the video was posted to Reddit and went viral. After that, it wasn't long before someone identified the woman as Anjali N Ramkissoon MD, a 30-year-old 4th year resident at the University of Miami's main teaching hospital. Ramkissoon is a headache and sleep medicine specialist (I'm glad someone cares about our headaches but she seems far more likely to cause them).
First, watch the video. And prepare to cringe as you watch our diaspora lose its shit over nothing.
Since the video's release, Ramkissoon's been placed on administrative leave. She reportedly lives in Miami with her family and graduated from North Miami Beach High School.
The video footage was taken by Juan Cinco, who had ordered the car to take him home. He later uploaded the clip to YouTube.
Information posted with the clip explains Ramkissoon, who was dressed in tight white shorts and a red top, came 'out of nowhere' and climbed into the backseat of the Uber.
According to the video description, here's what went down:
We were on the phone with this Uber driver while he pulled up to our location. Out of nowhere the girl in the video gets in the backseat of his car and won't get out. We told the driver it was ok, to just cancel our ride, but he did not want to take her anywhere so he kept telling her to get out.
Eventually the driver gets out and says he's calling the cops to get her out of the car. After a couple of minutes of the driver pretending to talk to the cops (I'm assuming he was pretending because they never showed up at first), the girl decides to reach into the front seat, grab his keys, and start walking away with his keys in her hands.. That's where the video starts.
Here's how the incident actually played out:
The video starts recording as we see the Uber driver and Ramkissoon outside the car. It's clear to us that she's begun attacking and verbally assaulting the driver because he's trying to grab her hands defensively. Both parties start yelling for someone to call the police.
After a minute or two, Ramkissoon becomes irate that the driver isn't taking her to her destination so she tries to knee him in the nuts (a spectacular fail). That's when the driver pushes her to the ground, becomes scared, and tries to drive away.
Also read - Parodying a parody: how does one mock MSG?
So what does she do? She gets in the front seat!
Obviously he doesn't want to be anywhere near her, so the driver gets out again leaving Ramkissoon in the car. That's when she starts her truly diabolical revenge: throwing all his important documents and papers onto the road.
At one point she also yells at him; 'Get the f*** in the car, you piece of f***ing disgusting s***.'
It doesn't end there. Again, from the YouTube description:
The police finally showed up after this video ends. The girl was in a taxicab about to leave when they showed up and they had to stand in front of the taxi and tell him to stop. The girl eventually got up from the area the cops had told her to sit and wait, and tried to walk away from the scene.
Once in handcuffs, she then tried kicking some of the police officers on the scene. It was only when they put her in the police car that she started crying, apologising, and claiming that she would lose her medical license (she claimed to be a neurologist) if she got arrested.
A few days ago, Ramkissoon appeared on Good Morning America to clear her name and explain her actions. 'I see a person that is not me,' she said. 'I'm ashamed. I still can't watch the entire video.'
Here's that interview:
Despite her apology, what continues to come through is the entitlement - she talks about the impact on her family and her career before she mentions the Uber driver, whom she refers to as "Uber driver" rather than by name.
Then she casts herself as a victim of bullying to buy herself some sympathy. In fact, she barely even apologises before moving on to herself and her trials.
Karma (the backlash)
The internet, being the internet, did what it does best: it tore her down. And as is often the case with internet justice, most of the anger is directed towards the fact that she's a rich, spoiled brat.
Someone created an unofficial Facebook profile for her neurology practice (which doesn't exist yet) and submitted reviews.
Because of all the (deserved) virtual attacks, she seems to have deleted her LinkedIn and Instagram profiles.
But not fast enough. Some people hacked into her accounts and found a tonne of nude photographs, which were quickly dumped online. Other morphed nudes also found their way online.
Still others hunted down her address and put that down too - in keeping with the internet's vigilante justice approach that often ends up being its own problem.
What's clear is that the internet is out to destroy Ramkissoon, as her Vitals.com page (which appears to be some sort of medical version of Yelp) shows. Her page is being flooded with scathing 'reviews'. She's up to a whopping 725 ratings, most of which are 1 lowly star.
Distinguishing revenge from justice
The problem, in all that has happened, is that there are no boundaries within which people have engaged with Ramkissoon. The Uber driver says he has already forgiven Ramkissoon.
But the internet hasn't. And sometimes the internet can caricature a person as a monster, creating a figure of hate such that recovery becomes impossible.
Most of us have never done anything this insane in their lives, but if someone video-taped the worst moment of my life and posted it on the internet, not many people would like me either. What this woman did is inexcusable, but is it worth permanently destroying her life over?
Glass houses, people.