It can be challenging for handicapped people to navigate the world. At least with the passing of the disabled person’s act, wheelchair ramps and other handicapped accessible elements were added to public buildings. This included public transportation, which installed elevators for subways and lifts for buses. Although it is more common for handicapped people to find ways to access public buildings and transportation, that does not always mean that people are willing to accommodate their presence.
When a handicapped man, waiting for the bus in the cold, rolled over to the bus that pulled up, he had no idea he was about to become part of a controversy. The bus driver lowered the ramp and then waited for the other passengers to move out of the way to make room for the handicapped man. But when none of the passengers moved an iota, the bus driver in France grew furious. And that’s when he did something to the other passengers that made headlines.
The bus driver kicked every passenger off the bus. And now he is being praised as a hero and an advocate for disabled people across the globe.
The man who was waiting for the bus in his wheelchair was François Le Berre. He has multiple sclerosis. He was in the 17th arrondissement in Paris when the bus pulled up. But when none of the passengers on board moved for him, he was shocked – and so was the bus driver.
When the driver saw that the other passengers were refusing to move, he stood up from the driver’s seat and shouted: “Terminating! Everybody off!”
The Twitter group called “Accessible Pour Tous” shared the news with the world.
After kicking every passenger off the bus, the driver told Le Berre that he was welcome on the bus. He told the rude people they would have to wait for the next bus.
Since the post went viral on Twitter, it has gotten more than 12,000 likes and been retweeted more than 5,000 times. One person wrote in response: “Bravo to the bus driver, but shame on the passengers.”
And that person is right. Although it may be inconvenient to move and accommodate someone with a disability, it is the human thing to do.
During an interview with the Huffington Post, Le Berre said, “No one wanted to move despite the access ramp. When he saw that, the RATP driver quickly intervened. He got up and said, ‘everybody off.’ Everyone did it, but some people did grumble a bit.”
The driver did not just force the passengers off the bus. He left them on the sidewalk with an important message. The driver looked them all in the eyes and said:
“Everyone might need a wheelchair one day.”
The driver let that message sink in while he closed the door and proceeded to give Le Berre a VIP ride to his destination. Le Berre is familiar with such treatment and was grateful that the driver had a heart of gold.
What do you think about this Paris bus driver’s move?
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