Greyhound — racism and poor customer service
A little over a week ago I took a bus trip from California to Texas for a family gathering. I typically prefer to fly, but when rates are a bit high I'm generally not above driving myself or taking public transportation. This may have been a mistake this time around.
I witnessed what I can only describe as a racially charged incident between the hispanic driver, an Hispanic security guard, and an African American passenger. I'd ridden on the bus with the black man and his two young daughters from Claremont to Phoenix with no incident.
At around 3 AM following our wonderfully timed layover, we reboarded. Shortly thereafter a Hispanic security guard approached him and asked him if his bag was placed above him. The man calmly said yes, and the security guard took his bag without explanation. When the passenger asked for the reasoning behind
the removal of his bag, he was told to sit down because he was "being rude." The security guard was gruff. I realize that you have the legal right to search our stuff when we board, but he treated this man poorly and scared his 3 and 5 year old girls. Then the security guard walks off the bus and the Hispanic bus driver gets on and proceeds to start verbally accosting the man, and then accuses him of being both drunk and rude. The man replies that his mother died from alcohol abuse, and even if she hadn't, he wouldn't be drinking around his two young daughters. The bus driver continues to argue with him and call him rude, and then steps off the bus. The security guard gets back on and calls the cops on his cell phone.
The passenger's 3 year old starts to weep and the 5 year old holds her closely to comfort her. After talking to the man briefly (I mentioned that by purchasing a ticket, we give them the right to search our stuff, even unfairly, and that If felt they were trying to provoke him him), and I could attest personally that the man did not smell like alcohol. He finally leaves the bus to avoid getting arrested before his children. I met him at the next stop in El Paso (my bus arrived late on top of all of that) as he was permitted to board another bus.
There was nothing found in the search and the police had no reason to arrest him.
I was so upset by the incident that I did not use my return ticket. My family flew me back from Texas at the last minute so that I wouldn't have to endure another exhausting trip in which customers are treated as inconveniences at best. My family often frequents this route to visit me, and this is not the first time an incident like this has occurred. My mother nearly got kicked off of the bus for trying defend a lady of Indian descent and her children from similar harassment.
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