Of all the videos to come out of the Vancouver riots, the most striking was a woman defending a BMW from the hordes of angry protestors. Now we know the rest of the story: Not only wasn't the car hers, amazingly, she didn't even know the owner.
The video spread widely following the riots, showing three women pushing and shoving against the crowd. One woman in particular, wearing a white Vancouver t-shirt, plunges into the crowd repeatedly, even pulling one rioter to the ground by his hood. At the time, people assumed the woman was one of several car owners who unsuccessfully tried to keep their vehicles from being burned.
The back story came to light last week when the real owner of the 2006 BMW M5 posted on a BMW owners forum asking for help to pay off $10,000 she still owes on the piece of burned metal and melted plastic. When she revealed she had spent the riot holed up in her apartment rather than fighting on the street, a few forum members accused the owner of running a scam — until she produced the paperwork proving her debt.
Jazmin Perez, the BMW owner, says she parked her car on a shopping trip to replace a broken iPhone on June 16, and left it there when the Stanley Cup crowds began to swell. When the rioting began, Perez says she was scared to leave her apartment:
There were drops of blood staggered among the cement, billows of smoke emanating from all possible directions, and the only gaps in the crowd were given to those who felt the need for violent puffery...It wasn't until the crowd began to disperse that we apprehensively went to check on the state of my vehicle. The street was blocked off by several police however, we asked one of the officers to compare the licence plate and make of the cars parked on Seymour to my vehicle information. Then the officer returned only to ask questions about the tires my stomach churned. My mouth went dry and I could feel the back of my throat slowly constrict.
Following the riots, Perez said her insurance company totaled the BMW for about $45,000 Canadian; however, the leasing agency contends that's $10,000 shy of what Perez owes on the lease — a deal she got in a separation from her ex-partner, which she says she could barely afford to begin with.
But the board members got suspicious of the request, asking how Perez could be locked in her apartment if she was on video in the street punching for her car. Her reply:
There are some people in Vancouver who are good people and stand up for things they don't believe is right. Tory Pearson was one of them. Although I do not know her personally, she defended my vehicle and believed what those hooligans were doing was wrong. She did her best to fight them off for as long as she could.
Perez says Pearson has declined to be thanked in person; Pearson has also not responded yet to an invitation from the forum for comment. Perez has garnered a few hundred dollars in donations and says she's not sure how she'll pay off her debt. The rest of Vancouver should be so forthright in acknowledging its debt to people like Tory Pearson.
Hat tip to Dm-Tree!