Fists were flying in a video that NBC 6 exclusively obtained of an altercation on a Miami-Dade transit bus that cost a driver his job.
Bus operator David Cruz said he was simply standing his ground and feared for his life when he got into it with a passenger who was upset over a transfer pass.
"We have like a glass partition and he just reached across and hit me," Cruz said. "I stood up to defend myself and the next thing and I'm trapped on the seat between the steering wheel and I couldn't move and he's on top of me chocking me and he's in Spanish telling me he's going to kill me."
The video shows a woman on the phone calling police and pulling another driver onto the bus to help Cruz. That driver sees what's happening and the video shows him throwing punches too. A construction worker and the second driver are seen pulling the passenger off the bus and then comes Cruz going into the bushes after the passenger, the punches still flying.
The records Cruz has says the county believed he failed to conduct himself as a trained professional and his conduct unbecoming of an operator towards a passenger.
"The reason the county terminated me was they said I violated company policy by leaving the drivers seat," he said.
The union wrote Cruz telling him the arbitrator determined "while you had the right to defend yourself...it could no longer be reasonably said that you were defending yourself after you left the bus and continued the altercation."
Department of Transportation and Public Works Director Alice Bravo issued a statement Friday on the firing of Cruz.
"Mr. David Cruz’s discipline was administered in accordance with Miami-Dade County administrative policies and procedures, and based on just cause," the statement read. "His termination from County service was the result of violation of County and operational work procedures regarding employee misconduct."
Cruz said he got off the bus because he was in fear for his life.
"I was in fear of my life that the guy was giving me a beating for almost two minutes, that he was going to come back and hurt me," Cruz said. "He was giving me a beating and I guess my adrenaline took over. I just wanted to do everything possible to restrain that guy till the police arrived."
Cruz says his termination was unfair and that anyone caught in the same situation would have also reacted the way he did when emotions are high.
Cruz says he's been a Uber driver but has a hard time paying his bills and wants his job back so he can finish his career with the county.
"Instead of standing by the driver, they stood by the passenger who attacked me," Cruz said.
The records show that Cruz had two prior incidents in his file but nothing very serious.