Seattle wants to ‘make good’
MAY DAY RIOT: Vancouver pastor’s car trashed during family trip to city
Many people in Seattle would like to make good. I don’t know if you can after the fact, but they would certainly like to try. — Lindsay Cohen, KOMO-TV reporter
Vancouver pastor Samuel Lee became a mysterious media sensation after his car was trashed and he was insulted on a visit to Seattle.
In that city Tuesday on vacation with his family, Lee parked his car on a busy street. When he returned, his tires had been slashed and windows smashed, courtesy of May Day rioters who caused damage in the “thousands and thousands” of dollars, according to news reports.
While he was upset at the state of his car, Lee told Lindsay Cohen, a KOMOTV reporter covering the riot, the reaction of passersby was almost as hurtful.
“I don’t know why people want pictures of my car,” Lee said.
“I don’t know why they have to mouth off to me and tell me to ‘go back to Canada, you hoser.’ “This is a real welcome to Seattle.” Lee gave his name only as “Sam” and, when the news clip hit the airwaves, the hunt to find him was on — in order to apologize.
Over the course of 24 hours, there was a twitter hashtag (#findsam) devoted to finding him, a follow-up story by the TV station and even the offer of an allexpenses-paid return trip to the city.
“The response has just been overwhelming,” said Cohen, who started the #findsam hashtag.
“People just empathize with him, as a father, as a tourist.
“Seattle has a legacy of very vehement protest [but] I think, however, when it crosses the line, that’s when people get upset, because you find people . . . who become, unfortunately, the innocent victim.
“Many people in Seattle would like to make good. I don’t know if you can after the fact, but they would certainly like to try.”
Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau would like to give Lee and his family an all-expenses-paid trip back to the city.
“We understand he had a dramatic experience, and that was not planned, and we want to be good hosts and do the right thing,” said bureau spokesman David Blandford.
But when he was contacted by The Province and told of the attention his story received, Lee was incredulous — and a little bit annoyed.
“I didn’t know any of this was happening,” he said when reached by phone. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”