Vancouver man seen spitting on elevator buttons apologizes, says he’ll seek counselling

A Vancouver man who was caught on video spitting on the buttons of an elevator in his Olympic Village condo building has issued a public apology, after the incident prompted outrage due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement provided by his lawyer Richard Fowler Sunday, the man — who has not been identified — said the spitting happened because of a “momentary fit of anger” due to an ongoing dispute with the strata council at the building, where he owns a unit.

“I am horrified at my own actions which are reprehensible and inexcusable,” the statement reads.

“I am employed, have never had any issues with law enforcement and am otherwise a good, law-abiding citizen. I can’t explain my own actions in this situation.”

The security video, which was posted on social media Friday and was shared on the building’s private Facebook page, shows the man entering the elevator in the building on First Avenue and Quebec Street. He rides up to the eighth floor.

Once the elevator doors open, the man can be seen spitting a large gob of saliva onto the button panel before slowly exiting into the hallway.

The statement confirms residents’ suspicions that the incident occurred last Saturday, April 4.

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Residents including Marie Hui, who posted the video to Twitter, told Global News the man’s actions were especially dangerous and upsetting amid the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, which is transmitted through droplets from the mouth and nose.

The man said he understands the worry and stress caused by the pandemic, and apologized directly to the building’s residents as well as the general public.

He said he has been following physical distancing guidelines and assured that he has “no coronavirus symptoms and no health issues,” adding he “never intended to harm anyone.”

The man said he plans to make a “meaningful donation” to the strata council that will “more than cover the cost of the extra sanitation required.”

He also plans to seek professional counselling, he said.

“There is really no way to make this right,” he said. “All I can do is express how sorry I am that this happened and to assure nothing like this will ever happen again.”

Fowler confirmed he was contacted by the man and spoke with him at length about what happened and how to rectify the situation. He said his client will not identify himself and will not make himself available for an interview.

Vancouver police said they were contacted by Hui and viewed the video, but confirmed, as officers told Hui, the matter could not be considered criminal, since intent could not be proven.

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