Fay Schlesinger, Daily Mail (London), May 24, 2010
A toddler was ordered off a bus because the foreign driver was ‘offended’ by his England football T-shirt, his mother has claimed.
Sam Fardon, 27, was allegedly told to get off the service with her sons Dylan, two, and 10-week-old Adam as they made their way to a childcare group.
The unnamed driver, who had a Polish or Eastern European accent, said Dylan’s white England shirt was ‘offensive’ and he threatened to turf the family out on the street.
But he faced a torrent of anger from incredulous passengers, and minutes later backed down and allowed the family to board.
The bus company has launched an investigation.
Miss Fardon, who also has a ten-year-old step-son, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, said: ‘He (the driver) said: “He won’t be wearing that during the World Cup, will he?”
‘I said Dylan would and the bus driver said: “I find that really offensive. You should dress your family in less offensive clothes.”
‘I was completely gobsmacked. He said we’d have to get off the bus but I argued with him and other passengers backed me up, so he let us on.
‘I think it’s disgraceful. I had baby Adam with me as well, but luckily he wasn’t wearing his England baby-grow.
‘I just think because of the nationality of the driver and Dylan being so young, he picked on him because he couldn’t answer back.’
Miss Fardon’s partner Chris Hall, a taxi driver, was so angry he defiantly bought England strips for all the children.
Mr Hall, 55, said: ‘It’s just showing support for your country during a World Cup–there’s nothing offensive about it. I will have England flags on my taxi.’
Selwyn Brown, of North Staffordshire bus users group Aces, said: ‘It’s unbelievable. Assuming it’s true, the bus driver is to be condemned.
‘Not just because there’s nothing wrong with wearing an England shirt, but that it was a little child. It’s totally ludicrous.’
First Bus said it is investigating Miss Fardon’s complaint, which was made after she caught the 34A service from Newcastle Bus Station, in Stoke-on-Trent, at 9am last Thursday.
Spokesman Paul De Santis said: ‘We are fully supporting England’s World Cup campaign and will be putting supporting material in all our buses.
‘No one should have to accept those sorts of comments, certainly none of our customers.’
Last month the Metropolitan Police suggested that some pubs ban customers from wearing England shirts during screenings of this summer’s World Cup matches to stop the risk of violence.
But one fan said: ‘We often hear of a loss of pride in Britain, and now police want to ban the England shirt. It’s like saying anyone who wears one is a yob.’