Since it was reported that 51 NYC Transit bus drivers took an average 64 paid days off last year after being spat on by passengers, the expectorated drivers have been coming forward to defend themselves and explain why they needed so much time to recover. Yesterday former city bus driver Oneisha Shade told CBS2 about the five months she took off before coming back to work after the spit assault, recalling how the saliva from an angry passenger hit her in the face and eye. But what CBS2 omitted is that Shade had also been assaulted on duty seven years earlier, when she was six months pregnant. And that attack happened with knives, not saliva!
Shade tells the Daily News two teenager girls stabbed her in 2001 as part of a gang initiation. The baby was not hurt, but was born premature and required physical therapy. The incident contributed to her apprehension about getting back behind the wheel after the spit attack. "The fact that I was assaulted a second time on a bus made me feel extremely vulnerable," says Shade. "I felt unsafe. It's nerve-racking. Just talking about it brings back that fear. You relive the event... I needed the help of psychiatrists in order for me to regain some sort of composure to be able to deal with people."
And since cops never found her assailants, she still lives in fear of running into them again: "Most victims don't return to the scene of the crime. But for bus operators, it's different." And B68 driver Jose Martinez took a total of one year off of work because of three spitting incidents during his 30-year-career. He tells the Post, "I'd rather be punched In the face five times. After the second [incident], I couldn't be near people. I couldn't trust them."