“You’re not going to blow this place up are you?”

Data scientist and part-time student Navraj Singh shares an encounter at a Starbuck in the US

Navraj Singh

IT was supposed to be another study Saturday at the Starbucks for Navraj Singh, a data scientist studying full-time at University of Maryland. But things got all heated up when someone tried to walk away with his bag, claiming that Navraj wanted to blow up the place!

Navraj shared his experience via the social media. Asia Samachar then got in touch with him to verify the incident in Columbia, Maryland, on 28 April 2018.

“I would like to note that no one was harmed in this situation,” he added in a note sent to Asia Samachar. We share his account of the incident.


By Navraj Singh | ENCOUNTER

I just went to @Starbucks this evening to go study for finals. As always, I ordered my drink and put my book bag down in a chair. After ordering my drink and waiting for my name to be called, I gave a quick glance to the chair I set my book bag in and saw it was gone.

I suddenly see a man taking my book bag nonchalantly as if it was his own. I ran up to him and said, “Hey man where are you going with my bag?” To which he responded, “You’re not going to blow this place up are you?”

I realized how ignorant this dude is so I responded by saying, “What makes you think that I would ever do something like that?” He’s heated now and says “It’s cuz you got that beard and turban on, I was gonna take your bag out so you don’t blow me up.”

Realizing this guy was not willing to listen to me I simply said: “Hey man, I’m just a student. I am really trying to study. Can you leave me alone?” To which he responds, “Nah leme talk to you outside.” I politely said no and grabbed my bag from him.

He goes on to say: “This is America, I don’t give a shit where you are from, we don’t allow that shit around here.” I’m kinda shaken at this point. I live in a really nice (diverse) neighborhood and for this to happen to me kinda took me off guard.

Everyone in the @Starbucks realizes he is bothering me and immediately comes to my defense. Let me tell you how absolutely beautiful it is to see so many people stand up for you in this political climate. The staff, the manager, fellow espresso lovers are all behind me.

The manager comes out and tells this man to go outside and he begins arguing with her outside. Rambling, spewing more racist stuff not just about me but about her as well. She stops mid conversation with him and pops her head inside to say, “Call the cops.”

At this point, people who stood up for me went outside to confront this maniac at which point he starts recording us. I’m just in the background trying to process this whole thing, and then he tells the manager he forgot his “sign” inside.

Turns out he was homeless and had a sign begging for money. At this point he has his sign and walks away and the cops come. They ask us what happened and we gave them our full account.

I know there is a lot of backlash against @Starbucks right now, but I just want to thank everyone who stood up for me. The baristas, the manager, friendly people who were enjoying coffee. You don’t know how much this support means to a guy like me.

My turban is my crown given to me by my guru, and amongst many other values it represents equality for all. My beard is a way to show my appreciation to my creator for his creation. I am a Sikh, and we roughly represent the 5th largest religion in the world, Sikhism.

My entire religion is based on the practice of giving, showing, and upholding love. I know he was referring to me as being a Muslim or a terrorist, but some of my best friends are Muslims who define the word love and I can’t imagine a life without them.

I would like to note that no one was harmed in this situation.

Navraj Singh is a data scientist who is studying part-time at University of Maryland


[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 



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I had questions from people wanting to learn more about Sikhism (Asia Samachar, 5 Oct 2017)


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  1. In today’s world scenario, you can never tell the right from wrong, every other chap who ties a turban looking like the Taliban is suspicious, no disrespect meant, if the guy made a mistake, perhaps for good reasons according to him, we as Sikhs must learn to forgive, one sad point to note here, a homeless man sent off hungry, that’s not Sikhi, in the holy GGS, Guru ji guides us to share and feed with those in need, it could be animal too, let’s learn and make a difference in someone’s life, a negative situation could had been positive. Sat Shri Akaal