Last week, a video of a Cleveland bus driver delivering an uppercut to a female passenger made its rounds on the Internet, prompting action from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.
The widely circulated video, which has since been removed from YouTube, shows a young girl taunting a bus driver before he delivers a punch right in her face.
But now, there’s context to the altercation, after 25-year-old Shidea Lane spoke exclusively to Fox 8 in Cleveland about her feud with 59-year-old driver Artis Hughes.
“I don’t remember everything, because I was so hysterical at the time,” Lane told Fox 8.
Lane explained that she was heading to work on Sept. 18 aboard the RTA bus when the driver accused her of not paying her fare.
“The bus driver didn’t think I had any money to get on the bus, and I was looking for it, trying to tell him that I have money to get on the bus. Can you just let me find it? And from there it just escalated,” Lane said.
That’s when Hughes slammed Lane in the face with a powerful uppercut, which was captured on a cell phone video.
“It felt like I was on Mortal Kombat. It just hurted. It was almost like a ‘finish him!’ type of hit,” Lane said. “It’s amazing to see how a man would hit a woman that hard. Are you serious? You could have pulled me off the bus. You can’t really touch anyone, but for real? You really punched me?”
After the incident, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority spokeswoman Mary Shaffer said Hughes, a 22-year RTA worker, would be suspended.
“We also saw the video today. Upon review, the driver was removed from duty and suspended. We are investigating,” she said.
But witnesses aboard the bus said Lane did not pay, Fox 8 reported, along with additional details about the feud. Hughes said in the police report that he was actually defending himself after Lane “threw the first blow.” According to Fox, Lane boarded the bus without paying and when Hughes stopped at the following stop, she said, “Are you putting me off the bus?” Witnesses reported that before the cameras starting rolling, Lane grabbed Hughes’ neck as he was driving and spit in his face. The video was captured only after Hughes stopped the bus and fought back, according to police.
When Fox 8 asked Lane about the police report and her role in the fight, she declined to comment.
In addition to Lane's interview, a Facebook group entitled "Shidea Lane Needed To Be Uppercut!! Have Some Respect Save The Bus Driver" was started as a petition to get Hughes' job back.
"Its important because although it is wrong for a bus driver to hit a woman, if you watch the whole video, the bus driver not only gave her multiple warnings but advised her to get behind the yellow line," the group description reads. "Not only could he have wrecked, but he would be held responsible if anyone in the bus would have been hurt or killed due to an accident."
Along with the Facebook group, a petition on Change.org was started and as of Monday, has about one third of the signatures it is seeking to "Save the bus driver."