An Indian-American businessman, who opened the doors of his home in Washington to over 70 people demonstrating against the custodial killing of George Floyd, has emerged as a hero after he helped some strangers, fed them and made sure they were safe in his house, according to US media reports.
The death of 46-year-old African-American Floyd last week in Minneapolis has led to one of the biggest civic unrest in the history of America. Rahul Dubey, who has been living in Washington DC for the last 17 years, accommodated the large number of people in his house with some adjusting on the couch, some finding space in the rooms, while some were gratified to get rest even on the ledges of the bathtub.
"There's about 75 people in my house. Some have got couch space. There's a family, a mother and daughter here, that I gave my son's room to so they get some peace and quiet. Yeah, even the ledges of the bathtub, and no one's bitching. They're happy-no, they're not happy. They're safe. They''re cheering.
"They're backing each other," Mr Dubey, 44, told Esquire magazine in an interview on Tuesday. The day after the Monday's protests, Mr Dubey, the owner of the Alvarez Dubey Trading Co., appeared in major news media outlets and was hailed as a saviour as those who took shelter in his house started tweeting about it.
"Rahul saved lives last night," one Black Lives Matter activist wrote on Twitter. "He ended this with an inspirational speech about not giving up and keeping up the peaceful fight. What a guy. Thank you Rahul." "I'm at a house in DC after being pepper sprayed and knocked down by the police. There are about 100 of us in a house surrounded by cops. All the neighbours on this street opened their doors and are tending to protestors. The cops corralled us on this street and sprayed us down," Allison Lane, one of the protestors, tweeted.
In an interview to ABC News affiliate WJLA, Mr Dubey said that it was about 8:30 p.m. that he was sitting outside and saw police set up a brigade on 15 St. and Swann St. that turned into a holding area. People started sitting on his porch and asked if they could charge their phone and use his bathroom, he told the news channel. The protestors left his home after the curfew ended 6 am Tuesday.
"I don't think there was even a choice in what I did, to be honest. The crowd just came racing through like a tornado. ... We had to keep the door open and just kept grabbing people and pulling them in. It's the same that you would if it's a storm, and you would have let anyone into your home, I know that," he told NBC News.
He said that when the police line had finally passed his house, that's when the people stopped pouring in and "I was able to shut the door and lock it. People were pouring milk on their faces, and water was being flung around. I went downstairs to get water for people. People were coughing," he told Esquire.