When You Call A Community Home, Everyone Becomes Family
When Mr Justin Farren visited a StarHub outlet in February, he wanted to get some Wi-Fi.
The 45-year-old was on medical leave and needed to work from home. He was greeted by a kind customer service representative.
“I was sitting down with her, just getting my paperwork done, when I felt somebody standing right behind me,” Mr Farren said.
“There was a really bad energy. I wasn't in a hurry so I told her to take care of him,” he recalled.
It seemed that the customer had a mobile security issue. “The situation got more and more heated. He grabbed the phone from her hands and knocked down some stuff on the counter. That was when I stood up,” Mr Farren added.
He focused on making sure that the staff member was safe behind the counter. Mr Farren also told her to call for security.
There were no other customers in the store. That seemed to spur the angry customer, who turned on Mr Farren.
In a video taken by passers-by, the customer hurled expletives and repeatedly spit at Mr Farren, shouting phrases like “who is she to you?”
Little did the customer know that Mr Farren could have easily hit back. Born in California, he was a professional wrestler for almost nine years.
“When he spit at me, I almost lost it. I wrestled for years and I know how to end a fight. I just didn't want to start one,” Mr Farren said.
“I wasn't afraid of him. I just felt like he had something to say or express. I tried to talk him down a little bit and not respond emotionally,” he added.
The customer turned violent on a security guard, so he was held down before the police arrived, according to Mr Farren. The police was left to handle the matter.
Mr Farren was invited back to the Tiong Bahru Plaza branch, where the representative thanked him personally.
“She seemed pretty relieved that nothing bad happened. I can't imagine that she said even one word or gave him one look that justified any of it,” he said. “She was super kind and helpful to me, and she didn't treat him any differently.”
After the video of the incident went viral, well wishes streamed in from family, friends and colleagues. Mr Farren resides in Singapore and is a creative director at Ubisoft, the company which produces the classic Assassin's Creed game series.
“I don't live the normal expat life. Every day I go to work, do my job and try to eat and live local. This is my community,” Mr Farren shared.
“And if I see something happening in my community, I'm going to say something to somebody. I would like to live here long-term,” he added.