A 95-Year-Old War Vet Took Four Buses To Protest Against Racism
John Sato, 95, took four buses to show his support for the Muslim community in New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.
The World War II veteran of the New Zealand army made the long trip into the centre of Auckland on Sunday to attend a rally against racism.
It was a personal journey for Mr Sato who said that he was deeply affected by the shootings on March 15.
"I stayed awake quite a lot at the night", he told Radio New Zealand. "I didn't sleep too well ever since. I thought it was so sad. You can feel the suffering of other people".
Mr Sato has no immediate family. His wife died 15 years ago and their only child, who was born blind, but became a talented yoga instructor, died last year, RNZ reported.
Conceding he lived in a bit of a bubble -- spending most of the time walking around his neighbourhood, doing chores and listening to his favourite classical music on the radio -- the war vet said the news of the attack brought him back down to earth.
After hearing about the vigils and memorial events being carried around the country, Mr Sato decided to catch a bus to check out his local mosque in Pakuranga. All of the flowers and messages of support gave him the motivation to push on with his journey and stand in solidarity with his fellow New Zealanders.
So, the 95-year-old took three more buses into the city and joined thousands of people rallying against hate.
He said racism had no place in New Zealand.
"I think it is such a tragedy, and yet it has the other side. It has brought people together. It doesn't matter what their race, or anything. People, they suddenly realise, we're all one. We care for each other." he said.
It seems he put a smile on a lot of faces as he joined the crowd. Many protestors gave him a hand when they saw him, while a police officer gave him a bottle of water.
And as for the long trip home, it didn't happen, an officer took him all the way to his front door.
"Policeman took me all the way home and waited down there until he saw me get up the stairs. It was very kind," he said.