Thanks to Listen Up! for this very appropriate graphic.
On their way to Falmouth Road Race this past weekend, four wheelchair athletes reported separate incidents of discrimination and mistreatment from Peter Pan Bus Lines employees. Michael Mills, one of the athletes in question, arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston to find that his bus lacked a wheelchair ramp despite the fact that he had honored company policy by calling days in advance to request one. This would have been irritating enough, but the driver’s response was positively disgusting. Mills tells the Cape Cod Times, “He said, ‘Can you walk?’ and I said, ‘No.’ And then he said, ‘If you can’t walk, you can’t get on my bus.'” The driver slammed the bus door in Mills’ face and drove off.
Chad Johnson had to deal with damage to his chair and bigoted words from a driver. Again from the Times:
Johnson boarded his bus at about 5 p.m. Saturday, he said. As the driver loaded his racing chair, Johnson said he asked the driver to place it upside down to maximize space and protect his wheels.
The driver ignored his request, Johnson said, and when he got his chair back one wheel was punctured and a fender was cracked.
Johnson pointed out the damage to the driver and told him that was the reason he requested the chair packed a certain way, he said.
The driver responded by saying something along the lines of: “This bus is for passengers and luggage, and not for you people and whatever that is,” gesturing to the race chair, Johnson said.
Two other athletes have reported similar treatment. Though Peter Pan’s VP of transportation reports that they are investigating the complaints, other company officials are focusing their energies on denying allegations in spite of their being four separate instances of awful behavior. “The way this man said the driver yelled at him, that’s not true,” said Tony Andrade, Peter Pan’s director of operations for the route in question. “We don’t train our drivers that way.” Andrade claims the driver who Johnson dealt with denied the allegations. (Perhaps he is unfamiliar with the concept of people lying to cover their own rear ends?) A word to the wise, Tony. This is where you apologize, not where you double down.
The four athletes are currently considering legal action over potential ADA violations. Good for them. This kind of discrimination is completely unacceptable. Until Peter Pan offers a satisfactory explanation for these incidents, you’re not going to catch me on one of their buses. If you’re as disgusted as I am, let Peter Pan know it. Send them a tweet @PeterPanBus or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s make sure they live up to their own self-declared standards, not to mention the law.