An Iranian international Ph.D candidate claims he was targeted because of his nationality when a bus driver kicked him off a Greyhound bus.
Mohammad Reza, who is a PhD candidate in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Arlington, was travelling from Dallas to Kansas City to participate in a conference.
He began his trip from Downtown Dallas in the evening and at around 3 a.m. when he was just 200 miles short of his destination, the bus driver demanded to see his ticket.
Reza showed the driver an e-ticket on his mobile and that is went things took an unexpected turn.
“The first thing that I remember is I showed my phone, the e-ticket that I had. But, she was very angry and she started yelling that, ‘I cannot accept this cell phone ticket,’” explained Reza.
He further said, “She asked me, ‘Do you understand what the meaning of printed copy is?’ I thought that maybe because of my accent – I am an international student here – or my name [that] she saw on the cell phone, the PDF file. She did not explain [why she was upset].”
Reza sensed that the driver was clearly upset and he started looking for his hard copy of the ticket and fortunately found one. However, by then, the woman had asked him to leave the bus.
That is when he began recording the incident. In the video, the woman can be heard demanding Reza to get off the bus.
“You're not going with me. I don't want to talk to you no more. Get off my bus! Police is helping you off. Don't worry. Police is coming. You're not going with me,” said the driver.
“I really don't know…' Reza added trying to figure out why he was being kicked off.
She further said, “You're not going with me! So stop talking with me. If you're not getting off, stop talking to me. Police will be here in a minute to help you off so no, I don't want to talk to you no more. Go away.”
At the end of the video, Reza asked the unidentified driver, “What's the reason?'”
While recalling the entire ordeal, the Ph.D candidate said that he had to record the video as proof.
“It was my last chance, based on previous experiences happening with airlines. I know police are coming and I had to tell my wife or my friends what was happening inside because 3 a.m. I didn't know what was going to happen next,” he said.
He also said the attitude of the passengers was not any different from that of the driver. No one stood beside him or supported him.
“It was a very scary situation. One of them approached me at my seat and loudly said [the] ‘F-word’ and told me, ‘If you are not leaving the bus we want to do something with you here in the bus,’” he added.
Forty minutes after the entire incident, police arrived and asked Reza to leave the bus. He was then dropped at Greyhound bus station in Wichita where he waited for the next bus.
However, fate was not on his side as he was told by bus operators that the bus wouldn’t leave before 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon – which meant he would have to miss the conference.
Reza then decided to hire a Lyft car and paid nearly $250 to reach to his destination. After the conference, he flew back home and didn’t use his return bus ticket.
Following the incident, the bus company released a statement.
“Greyhound does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and is taking these allegations very seriously. We've identified the driver and are currently conducting a thorough investigation into the matter,” said Greyhound.
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Shannon Stapleton