For individuals with disabilities, accessing public transportation is typically a challenging task. They have difficulties getting around on public transport, and on top of that, sometimes they face negative attitudes from other passengers.
One unnamed Parisian bus driver helped turn a vexing commuting experience of a passenger with special needs into a pleasant one.
On Oct. 18, François Le Berre, who has multiple sclerosis, was waiting to board a bus from 17th arrondissement in Paris. However, he was having trouble getting onto the bus, as the passengers on board were seemingly reluctant to move up to make room for him.
“No-one wanted to move despite the access ramp,” Le Berre told Huffington Post.
Hier en attendant le bus à Paris, personne ne voulait se pousser. Comme personne ne bougeait le chauffeur s’est levé et à dit “Terminus ! Tout le monde descend! Après il est venu me voir et m’a dit “vous pouvez monter et les autres , vous attendez celui d’après!
François Le Berre pic.twitter.com/Icb5fqPMfD
— Accessible POUR TOUS (@tomipa06) October 21, 2018
The behavior of the passengers apparently irked the RATP driver, who stood up and ordered everyone to get off.
“Terminus! Everybody down!'” the driver announced, per Le Berre’s Facebook post.
“Everyone did it, but some people did grumble a bit,” Le Berre said.
According to Le Berre, the driver then told the passengers, “Everyone might need a wheelchair one day.”
After all the passengers alighted from the bus, the driver came to Le Berre and said, “You can go up and the others, you wait for the next one!”
And so, Le Berre and his companion had all the bus to themselves as the driver drove off.
Accessible POUR TOUS (Accessible for All) re-shared Le Berre’s post on Twitter on Oct. 21. The tweet has gone viral, receiving nearly 14,000 likes and over 5,000 shares.
Social media users from around the world applauded the driver for teaching the passengers a good lesson. Some even urged French President Emmanuel Macron to honor the bus driver.
“Congratulations to this driver who emptied his Bus to allow a disabled person to ride. Nice lesson. I hope the other passengers understood!” one user wrote.
Another remarked, “A superb reaction from this bus driver.”
RATP, the operator of Paris’s public transit system, has been trying to identify the driver in an attempt to recognize him for standing up for the disabled passenger, CTV News reported. The RATP authorities said they won’t fire the driver for expelling his passengers off the bus as it was done out of kindness for a man in a wheelchair.
“An agent does not get fired when acting on behalf of travelers,” RATP wrote in a tweet.
This story serves to remind us we should always be considerate and make space for wheelchair users while using public transportation.
“Everyone might need a wheelchair one day.” So, who knows, one day, you might be the one needing this little help from others.