A Vancouver Island man is still in shock after a stranger spat in his face and hurled a racial slur at him.
On Monday, Miguel Condell and his dog Machi were walking towards the end of Josh’s Trail in Cumberland when he heard two mountain bikers riding towards them.
Condell pulled Machi to the side of the trail where he spoke to her in Spanish.
One of the men then stopped, spat in Condell’s face, and told him to ‘go home’ followed by a racial slur.
The incident left Condell, who is of Chilean heritage, shaken.
“I was stunned,” he said. “I couldn’t even look at them. I wiped my face and left with my dog, and came home and washed my face. I didn’t know how to react.”
This is Condell’s first exposure to racism since moving to the Comox Valley three years ago.
“It’s been a very welcoming community,” Condell said. “It was very shocking. I had not experienced this before, here.”
He said the attack has left him very tense. “I’m expecting to possibly see this guy again, somewhere.”
Condell doesn’t know what to say to his attacker. “It’s so out of place, and so hateful, I just can’t think of anything to say. Does this happen to people and they just don’t talk about it? Is this a common occurrence here that’s just not talked about? I don’t know.”
Comox Valley RCMP Const. Monika Terragni confirmed that this incident has been reported to police.
She added that spitting on someone is an assault.
“If this suspect is identified, police would certainly consider charges in the matter,” Terragni said.
Condell said the support he’s received from the community since the incident happened has been uplifting.
“It’s truly amazing, how outraged people are and how supportive they are because I didn’t really know that people would react that way,” Condell said. “People have always been very welcoming and supportive here, regardless.”
His wife, Jessica Johnson, called the act “absolutely despicable.”
“We don’t get it,” she said.
“Miguel and I love our community and no one has ever stopped us while walking Machi to do anything but compliment her,” Johnson said in a Facebook post.
The two men were decked out in biking attire. Johnson said the man who spat at her husband looked to be in his late 40’s and his friend “seemed younger.”