St Albans student becomes a have-a-go hero after stepping in following racial attack on Muslim woman

Jodie Whitford-Stark was dubbed a 'hero' by the family of a pregnant muslim woman who was attacked last week

Jodie Whitford-Stark was dubbed a 'hero' by the family of a pregnant muslim woman who was attacked last week

Archant

A student has been hailed a hero by a the family of a pregnant Muslim woman targeted in a racial attack following the recent Paris terrorist attacks.

Jodie Whitford-Stark, 20, who grew up in St Albans and is now a student at Leeds Beckett university, was on a bus on Monday (16) in Leeds when a seven month pregnant Muslim woman boarded in floods of tears.

The former Aboyne Lodge and St Albans Girls School pupil became concerned when the woman collapsed onto the floor, and went straight to her aid.

Jodie said: “She just laid there on the floor of the bus as she was so upset with what had happened.

“She mumbled saying she had been attacked and another lady came over. I introduced myself and I asked what happened, it was difficult to get information out of her because she was so upset.”

It transpired that the woman had just been punched in the stomach by two boys in what is believed to be a racially motivated attack following the Paris shootings two weeks ago.

Jodie said neither the bus driver or other passengers came to the victim’s aid: “There were lots of people but they didn’t know what to do or how to help.”

After getting off the bus and calling an ambulance at about 7.30pm, Jodie waited with the woman until it arrived 60 minutes later.

“She calmed down and she seemed pretty OK, but you can’t take any chances with someone who is pregnant.”

Jodie travelled to the hospital with the woman and supported her while doctors made the appropriate checks.

She remained in contact with the woman’s family until her brother arrived at the hospital at around 9.30pm.

Jodie said: “I didn’t want to leave her until someone came to meet her and the family kept in touch through me. The paramedics said to me ‘Don’t you have anything better to do?’, I couldn’t believe it!

“I wanted to restore their faith in humanity, there are people out there who care.

“If that was my mum you would want someone to go out of their way to help her wouldn’t you? She was really grateful.”

Jodie said she had received lots of gratitude from the woman’s family members, both in person and via text message.

One, from the woman’s husband, read: “You stood by my family, the least I can do is to say thank you and to see my family’s hero...you are a star”.

She called her mother to explain what happened while on a taxi ride home, and added: “At the end of the journey I got off the phone and the driver asked me if I believed in good Karma? I said I don’t know, and he replied saying that he had switched off the meter because I had done such a good deed.”

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